In a tectonic shift in the politics of Karnataka, BJP asked BS Yeddyurappa to step down to make a change of leadership. The winds of change are blowing across state party lines and the message is clear that the top brass will not hesitate from making changes, despite the gigantic statures of some of the leaders. The leadership of BJP is already in the hands of young and new generation leaders in almost all the states except Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
After the defeat of the BJP in Rajasthan, Vasundhara had been sidelined, and now it is believed that in Madhya Pradesh, there can be a change of leadership as BJP attempts to give a more prominent role in the Centre to Mama aka Shivraj Singh Chouhan and pass over the reins of the state to Home Minister Narrotam Mishra.
As the discussion around the next CM face of Madhya Pradesh gathers pace, it is Narottam Mishra, whose name is being suggested by several experts. Known for his pro-Hindutva image, Narottam Mishra’s importance to the BJP high command can be gauged by the fact that he was entrusted with the all-important Home Ministry portfolio. There were discussions to announce him the CM in 2020 too after the fall of the Congress government, but Shivraj’s seniority took precedence. Moreover, BJP did not want to experiment midway into the assembly.
If we talk about Mishra’s political skillset, he is a six-time MLA for BJP and has time and again proven his mettle. Apart from the Home Ministry, Narottam remains a central figure in the party’s organizational work in the state and leaders in New Delhi directly rely on him to handle the state cadre workers.
BJP knows Mishra’s political acumen inside out and that is why the party gave him important responsibilities in the West Bengal assembly elections. Considered a Hindutva face, Narottam has an image of a hard taskmaster, which is also the USP of several young BJP firebrand leaders.
Narottam’s experience is commendable not only at the political but also at the administrative levels. Narottam had played an active role in preparing legal provisions on the issue of love jihad in the state. Political pundits, time and again have argued that if there is a watertight and a firm Love Jihad law anywhere in the country, it is Madhya Pradesh and the major credit for it goes to Mishra.
Besides, Narottam Mishra was one of the first leaders from Madhya Pradesh to raise his voice agianst OTT platforms tarnishing the image of Hindus and insulting the holy deities. As a result of Narottam’s sheer persistence, the OTT platforms had to bow down after the decisions taken by the Center and the Supreme Court. Although CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also become aggressive on the issue of OTT’s as well, but the BJP is actively looking for a new face.
There is no beating around the bush that CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a skilled and astute politician, and his political experience has bailed out the BJP during dark times on uncountable occasions. However, keeping the future in sight, the central unit of BJP intends on taking some big calls.
After the defeat of the BJP in the assembly elections held at the end of the year 2018, it was prepared to bring Shivraj Singh Chouhan to the fold of the Centre government. However, Singh, knowing the ins and outs of the Congress party understood that the Kamalnath government wasn’t destined to complete its full five-year tenure. Thus, he stayed put and the high command waited for him to weave his magic.
Shivraj’s foresight was proven right as Jyotiraditya Scindia ditched the Congress party and switched sides to the BJP. A section of MLAs also followed. Fast forward, Shivraj Singh Chouhan once again took the oath as the CM.
To accommodate the new leaders and keep any unnecessary conflict from arising, Shivraj was kept at the helm and the BJP dropped the idea of pushing Narrotam. However, Shivraj’s close aides did not get a place in the cabinet which inadvertently was a signal from the centre that this could be his last tenure.
It is not that the party will completely shun Shivraj Singh Chouhan from mainstream politics by shifting the centre of power to Mishra. Shivraj has the experience of working at the top level for about 18 years. He knows how the strings are pulled and how the work is extracted from the lethargic bureaucracy of the country.
Hence, the BJP is likely to use his skillset just as it did with former CMs like Sarbananda Sonewal and Eknath Khadse. Both of them were included in Modi’s cabinet, and Shivraj can also be given a place in the big leagues.
It appears that after the 2023 assembly elections, BJP will present a new CM to the people of Madhya Pradesh and Narottam Mishra leads that race by some margin.