The BJP is almost certain of fighting the next Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh under the leadership of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. However, in Chhattisgarh, the party is unlikely to project a CM candidate amid growing demands for change in state leadership, according to sources quoted by The Indian Express. Both the states are expected to go polls in November 2023.
On Thursday, the BJP’s senior leadership, led by party president J P Nadda, held meetings with with the party’s senior leaders from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to tone up its organisational machinery in the two states where it had suffered defeat in the 2018 elections.
Coordination between the state government and the party organisation and various outreach programmes aimed at different sections of society, including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes, were discussed in the meeting with Madhya Pradesh leaders.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and the state’s in-charge Muralidhar Rao, state party chief Vishnu Dutt Sharma and state minister Narottam Mishra were present in the meeting. Madhya Pradesh BJP general secretary (organisation) Hitanand Sharma also attended the meeting.
BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh joined Nadda in the two separated meetings with leaders from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Amid speculation about reshuffle in the Madhya Pradesh Cabinet and changes in the party’s organisation, a leader who attended the meeting claimed that these issues were not discussed. Despite losing to the Congress in the 2018 polls, the party returned to power in 2020 after winning over a chunk of its MLAs, who owed allegiance to Jyotiraditya Scindia, now a Union minister. The party has been working overtime to recover its lost ground and strengthen its base.
Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and state party president Vishnudeo Sai were among those who attended the second meeting. Party leaders strategised over organisational programmes to broaden its base, especially among SCs, tribals and backward population, a big section of whom had shifted to the Congress in 2018.
While the BJP has performed well in different bypolls in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has constantly got better of it in Chhattisgarh. Since its impressive win in four of the recent five state assembly polls, the BJP has shifted gear and stepped up its political activities in other states, including those where elections are due this year and the next.
Nadda had also chaired a meeting with leaders from Rajasthan, another state which is scheduled to go to the polls with Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the second half of next year.