Continuing with the trend of selecting a relatively unkown face as a leader, the BJP on Monday chose Mohan Yadav, a three-time MLA from Ujjain, to become the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, ending the long stint of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, arguably the party’s tallest politician of the state.

A day before, the party, similarly, ignored the likes of former CM Raman Singh to name tribal leader Vishu Deo Sai to lead the Chhattisgarh. Now, it’s the turn of Rajasthan where the BJP, facing assertion from former CM Vasundhara Raje, will announce the CM candidate on Tuesday.

MLA from Ujjain South Yadav, an OBC leader close to RSS, was elected as leader of the BJP’s legislative party on Monday, a fortnight after the BJP retained power, comfortably beating anti-incumbency against its outgoing CM Chouhan to clinch 163 seats in the 230-member assembly. The Congress was reduced to a distant second with 66 seats when the assembly poll results were announced on December 3.

Unanimous nomination

Yadav, 58, was unanimously nominated by outgoing four-time CM Chouhan, and other senior leaders, former union ministers Prahlad Patel and Narendra Singh Tomar, and party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya supported the proposal, VD Sharma, the BJP’s state head told reporters in Bhopal.

“I thank all of you... state and central leadership (and). With your love and support, I will try to fulfil my responsibilities,” Yadav told party leaders and members as he stated that a smaller worker like him has got a big responsibility.

In the selection of Yadav, a minister in earlier Chouhan regime, the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah appears to have reinitiated its experiment of not selecting a leader from a prominent caste of a state to become its Chief Minister. This started with Devendra Fadnavis, who was asked to become for the first time Mahrastra CM in October of 2014, ignoring Maratha claimants from within the party. Around the same time, the strategy was successfully repeated in Haryana with Manohar Lal Khattar, a non-Jat leader, asked to spearhead the state .

Likewise, Yadavs are OBCs but not politically significant in the MP. He will, however, be the fourth OBC CM from the BJP after Uma Bharti, Babu Lal Gaur and Chouhan.

Two Deputy CMs

The BJP also named two deputy chief ministers - Jagdish Devda, who won from Malhagarh by nearly 60,000 votes, and Rajesh Shukla, the fifth time MLA from the Rewa seat, having emerged victorious by around 21,000 votes. Both were ministers in Chouhan government.

hile Narendra Singh Tomar, who resigned as Union Agriculture Minister to contest assembly polls, will be the Assembly Speaker.

The BJP sources stated that by giving the reigns to a relatively younger face, the party has tried to send a message that factionalism borne out of in-house heavy weights like Chouhan, Tomar, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Vijayvargiya, will not be acceptable as it looks ahead to face Lok Sabha polls in about four months from now. A BJP leader also observed that the party has also tried to signal voters especially in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that it was not opposed to Yadavs though in both the states it has tried to bring together withing the party ambit Most Backward Castes.

Chouhan hailed his successor Yadav as a hard-working person and said, “I am confident that, under the able guidance of respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, you will take Madhya Pradesh to new heights of progress and development and will create new records in the field of public welfare”. Many congratulations and best wishes for this new responsibility!, he posted on X.