Lotus is our face in every election: Union minister Goyal on BJP’s chief ministerial face in poll-bound MP

PTI, Oct 9, 2023, 8:57 AM IST

Amid the debate over BJP’s chief ministerial face for the upcoming assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal has said the ‘lotus’ is his party’s face in every election. Political circles in Madhya Pradesh are abuzz with speculation about plans of the ruling BJP’s central leadership after it fielded a number of stalwarts including Union ministers as candidates for the MP assembly polls.

Various statements made by BJP leaders also fuelled a debate over the party’s chief ministerial face. Asked about the BJP’s chief ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh, Goyal, while talking to reporters in Neemuch on Sunday, said, “Lotus is our face in every election. Lotus is revered by all of us. We go among the people with lotus.”

”We all are workers and have a commitment to make India a developed country,” he said. “We are committed to bring joy and enthusiasm in the life of every Indian, to fulfill all their aspirations, to serve for a bright future, welfare of the poor and good governance,” the Union minister said, and expressed confidence that his party will emerge victorious in the upcoming polls. A recent statement of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan prompted the main opposition Congress to claim that after being sidelined, he was trying to put pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking at a gathering in Dindori last week, Chouhan asked the public whether he is running a good government or a bad government. “…So, should this government move ahead or not? Should ‘Mama’ (maternal uncle, as he is popularly called) become chief minister or not?” he asked.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, while addressing a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh on October 5, claimed Chouhan will not get the top post after the elections. Reacting to Chouhan’s remarks made in Dindori, MP Congress chief Kamal Nath on Saturday claimed the CM was trying to put pressure on PM Modi. Eight-term MLA and senior state cabinet minister Gopal Bhargava, speaking at a gathering earlier this month in his constituency Rehli in Sagar district, said he would be contesting his last election, and he also felt that in this election no one was being projected as the chief minister candidate.

“It is not being told who will be the chief minister….I felt he (his Guru) must have some wish, that the word has come from God,” Bhargava said. Chouhan, the longest serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, has been seen of late getting emotional at public events and rallies. At an event held in his home-turf Budhni recently, he asked people if he should contest the election or not. During a rally, he told women that they would miss a ”brother” when he is not around.

The BJP has so far announced candidates for 79 out of the total 230 assembly seats in the state. The candidates include Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste as well as senior leader from Indore Kailash Vijayvargiya, all political heavyweights being seen as contenders for the chief minister’s post.

Last week, Vijayvargiya said he was contesting the election not to become just an MLA, and the party would give him some important responsibility.

In the 2018 MP assembly polls, the Congress won a maximum of 114 seats in the 230-member House, while the BJP bagged 109 seats. The Congress formed a coalition government under Kamal Nath with the support of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and independent candidates.

The Nath government, however, collapsed after 15 months when a section of Congress MLAs, most of them loyal to Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, quit and joined the BJP.

The saffron party returned to power in March 2020 with Shivraj Singh Chouhan as chief minister once again.

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