Madhya Pradesh: Speculation about MP BJP adopting Gujarat model gathers wind in election year

Reliable sources in the Madhya Pradesh BJP said that what experiments will take place is still unclear as the decisions will be taken by the Central leadership -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah -- but some major changes are expected.

IANSUpdated: Sunday, January 01, 2023, 02:09 PM IST
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Madhya Pradesh CM Chouhan in Gujarat for election campaign | ANI

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): With Madhya Pradesh entering election year, speculation over the implementation of the 'Gujarat model or a major 'reshuffle in the state BJP unit has intensified. The ruling BJP is maintaining a silence on a possible move from the party's central leadership; however, this silence is only leading to more speculation.

Reliable sources in the Madhya Pradesh BJP said that what experiments will take place is still unclear as the decisions will be taken by the Central leadership -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah -- but some major changes are expected.

"Whether the ministers and some sitting MLAs will be given tickets for the next election or not, is a different issue. It happens in every election in all political parties, but that will not change the atmosphere. A major reshuffle is likely to take place at the top level of the sangathan (party), and it is expected to happen by mid-January," a senior BJP functionary said, requesting not to be named.

Murmurs about the execution of a 'Gujarat model' in poll bound Madhya Pradesh began after the BJP's plan for a major or complete reshuffle was successful and the BJP retained power in Gujarat recently. The BJP had experimented with the same method in the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) elections in 2017 and had won despite facing huge anti-incumbency. All 250 sitting municipal councillors were replaced with new faces and the BJP's plan was successful against the wave of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

A demand for the implementation of the 'Gujarat model' was raised within the state unit of the BJP including by senior leader Kailash Vijayvargiya. A BJP MLA from Maihar in Satna district even wrote a letter to party national president J. P. Nadda on this matter.

An obvious question arises here - why is the BJP repeating its Gujarat model of executing widespread changes in Madhya Pradesh? IANS put these questions to several senior politicians from both the BJP and the Congress. The ruling side defended it (reshuffle) citing the present political scenario in Madhya Pradesh matching with Gujarat and its recent outcome.

The BJP has been in power in Madhya Pradesh since December 2003, except for a brief period from December 2018 till March 2020 when the Congress was in power. By the time elections in Madhya Pradesh take place in 2023, the BJP would have been in power for almost 19 years out of which incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been ruling for more than 16 years.

The BJP faced massive anti-incumbency against this almost two-decade-rule comprising the same faces, the same policies and the same slogans that led to the BJP losing the 2018 polls. A similar situation (anti-incumbency against 27 years rule) was faced by the BJP in Gujarat, and more than 40 per cent sitting MLAs were dropped. Before that a major reshuffle at the top level in the state unit was executed.

Sources claimed the indication of a reshuffle came on October 1, when 20 BJP national functionaries, state leaders and Union ministers indulged in a marathon nine-hour "core group" interaction at a resort situated inside the Ratapani forest sanctuary. There was a frank discussion among the central functionaries and the state leaders in view of the challenges that the BJP was facing in Madhya Pradesh which will start poll preparations beginning with New Year 2023.

The meeting was presided over by national general secretary (organization) B.L. Santhosh, the de-facto number three in the BJP hierarchy.

Senior Congress leader and former minister P. C. Sharma, who was the in-charge of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' leg in Madhya Pradesh, speaking on the BJP executing the Gujarat model said, "I don't know which model is coming, I can only say that no model is going to save the BJP's 'corruption model' for the last 18 years in Madhya Pradesh. For the last several years people have been hearing about the propagated development model of Madhya Pradesh - then where has MP's development model gone? It shows that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan- led BJP government has accepted its failure. People of MP want their own model (MP model). The Gujarat model came in 2014 and since then government properties have been sold off one by one."

When asked what if the so-called 'Gujarat model' is followed with a strong entry of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Madhya Pradesh?, Sharma said, "Let them speculate, those who are hoping so, but MP will be between the BJP and the Congress only. No one can dent the Congress' votes this time. People of Madhya Pradesh have decided to say goodbye to the BJP. Congress workers are working hard to ensure that the party under Kamal Nath forms the government in Madhya Pradesh."

Though the AAP surprised everyone with it's stunning entry during the civic elections a few months ago in Madhya Pradesh, winning the Singrauli mayoral seat and getting several councillors, the party led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is yet to make any announcement of its plan for the MP Assembly elections. Surprisingly, despite its strong showing, the AAP's MP unit has not been seen on the roads asking questions of the ruling BJP.

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