Tribal MLA Vishnu Deo Sai to take oath as Chhattisgarh CM; PM Modi, Shah to attend


PTI, Dec 13, 2023, 9:09 AM IST

BJP MLA Vishnu Deo Sai will take oath as chief minister of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday at an event in Raipur which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, other senior BJP leaders and chief ministers of other states.

”Like the historic victory of BJP in the elections, the swearing-in ceremony of Sai and the council of minister will also be historic,” state party chief Arun Sao told reporters on Tuesday.

The BJP on Sunday picked tribal leader Sai (59), a former Union minister who had also served as Chhattisgarh BJP chief, as the new chief minister.

Amid speculations over who will be inducted in the new cabinet and whether the state will get two deputy CMs, Sao said, ”The exact number of leaders who will take oath will be known to everyone on time.” Elaborate preparations have been made at the Science College ground in Raipur, where the swearing-in ceremony will be held at 4 pm. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the function.

”PM Narendra Modi ji, BJP president JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, chief ministers of other states, Union ministers, senior BJP leaders from other states, eminent personalities, and intellectuals will attend the ceremony,” Sao said.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, among others, will also be present at the event, as per the state BJP unit.

BJP workers and common people will also be present in large numbers, Sao said, adding that all the political parties in the state, including the opposition (Congress), have been invited for the event.

Speaking about the preparations, an official said around 1,000 police personnel have been deployed for security arrangements. Intensive checks are being conducted at intersections, bus stands, railway stations, airports etc, in Raipur city, he said.

Three separate stages have been built at the Science College Ground for the programme.

”The main oath-taking ceremony will take place on the first stage. The middle one is reserved for VIPs, while the third platform is for the newly-elected MLAs,” the official said.

Separate sectors have been created at the venue for seating arrangements for special guests, media persons, and common people. LED lights are being fixed so that the event will be visible till the farther end of the ground. Huge screens are also being installed, the official added.

Meanwhile, speculations going on in state political circles suggested the new council of ministers may be a mix of fresh faces and old-timers.

As per the norm, the Chhattisgarh cabinet can have a maximum of 13 ministers including the chief minister.

Speculations are also rife that the cabinet will have two deputy CMs– one each from OBC and the general category.

Sao, who hails from the influential Sahu (Teli) OBC community, is said to be in the reckoning for the deputy CM’s post.

The lawyer-turned-politician, Sao, has steered clear of controversies and is seen as a neutral leader who doesn’t belong to any camp in the state BJP unit.

He won the the Lormi assembly seat by 45,891 votes against his nearest Congress rival Thaneshwar Sahu in the recent elections.

Another potential candidate for the Deputy CM’s post is state BJP general secretary Vijay Sharma who trounced influential Congress leader and outgoing minister Mohammad Akbar in the Kawardha constituency by 39,592 votes.

The names of Brijmohan Agrawal and Amar Agrawal (both from the general category), Dharamlal Kaushik and Ajay Chandrakar (OBC), Kedar Kashyap, Vikram Usendi and Ramvichar Netam (Scheduled Tribe), Punnulal Mohile and Dayaldas Baghel (Scheduled Caste) and Rajesh Munat (Jain community) are doing rounds as probable ministers in the Sai cabinet.

Among these leaders, except Dharamlal Kaushik, others served as ministers in the previous BJP governments in the state.

Names of IAS officer-turned-politician OP Chaudhary, Gajendra Yadav, and Bhavna Bohra have also been discussed in political circles as potential fresh faces.

Former chief minister Raman Singh is likely to be named as the speaker of the state assembly.

Among women leaders, the names of former Union minister Renuka Singh, ex-MP Gomti Sai, and former state minister Lata Usendi are doing rounds. All the three hail from tribal communities.

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