Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): In the wake of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra predicting Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's exit from the top post following the year-end assembly polls, the latter asked people at a rally whether he should become the CM again or not.
Political circles in Madhya Pradesh are a buzz with speculation about the Bharatiya Janata Party's top leadership sidelining Chouhan ahead of the assembly polls. For the upcoming elections, the party has fielded several stalwarts as its candidates, who are being considered as contenders for the chief minister's post, if the party retains power.
CM was addressing a gathering at Dindori
Addressing a gathering at Dindori on Friday, CM Chouhan asked people, "I want to ask you whether I am running a good government or a bad government. So, should this government move ahead or not? Should Mama (as he is popularly called) become chief minister or not?" He also asked them if Narendra Modi should continue to be the country's prime minister and whether the BJP should retain power (in the state and centre).
The attendees replied to both the questions in the affirmative.
Priyanka Gandhi, while addressing a rally in Dhar district of the state on Thursday, said Chouhan would not become the chief minister again.
"PM Modi ji comes here...Nowadays he is shying away from mentioning the name of Shivraj ji.Just taking his own name and asking (people) to vote for me (Modi). Now he (Chouhan) is not going to become your CM," she said.
Chouhan, the state's longest serving CM
Chouhan, the state's longest serving chief minister of the state, is seen getting emotional during public events and rallies recently.
In a public event held in his home-turf Budhni held recently, Chouhan asked people if he should contest elections or not.
At a rally in Budhni, the CM had told women that they would miss a "brother like me" when he is not around.
At an event held in Ujjain on Friday, he said the path of politics was slippery and there was fear of slipping at every step, and sought the blessings of spiritual leaders attending the event to ensure he continues to "walk on the path of virtue".
Earlier, in Khargone, Chouhan had said he had no greed for any post and that he would be happy even if his bones and flesh come of use and do good to people.
Asked about the recent statements seeking public permission about his candidature during the upcoming polls, Chouhan on Friday told reporters in Bhopal, "This means we consider (each other) brother and sisters. Mama's family, which is the people of the state, understands this. If we have to contest (elections), then we will do this only after asking people." "This is a family relation and it takes a lot of insight to understand it," he said.
Elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly are likely to be held at the end of the year.
BJP has announced the names of 79 candidates
The BJP has announced the names of 79 candidates, who include Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste, as well as party's senior leader and Indore strongman Kailash Vijayvargiya, all political heavyweights being seen as contenders for the chief minister's post.
Earlier this week, Vijayvargiya said he was contesting the upcoming state elections not only to become an MLA, and added that the party would give him some important responsibility.
During a press conference in August, when asked if Chouhan would be chief ministerial face of the party, Union Home Minister and BJP's key strategist Amit Shah had counter-questioned the media asking why it was doing the "party's work (choosing persons for posts)".