Shivraj Singh Chouhan returned as Madhya Pradesh chief minister for the fourth time after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) legislative party picked him for the top job in a meeting held in Bhopal on Monday.
Chouhan was sworn in by governor Lalji Tandon in a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan. He was the only leader to be administered the oath in view of the health protocols necessitated by the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Rest of the things will take place later. Right now there is emergency to fight Covid-19," state BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma said.
The legislative party meeting was held three days after the resignation of Congress chief minister Kamal Nath. Chouhan lost power to Nath in December 2018 after the BJP failed to return to power in the state for the fourth consecutive time.
“Congratulations to Shivraj Singh Chouhan for being chosen the leader of the legislative party," tweeted union minister Narendra Singh Tomar after the end of the meeting in Bhopal. The BJP leadership had appointed Arun Singh, general secretary, as the observer for the legislative party meeting. Party vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, BJP’s in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, was also present in the meeting through video conference.
BJP has 106 MLAs while Congress has 92 after the resignation of 22 rebel MLAs, led by Jyotiraditya Scindia, was accepted by Speaker N.P. Prajapati on Thursday. There are four independent MLAs, two MLAs of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and one MLA of Samajwadi Party (SP) in the 230-member assembly.
“The problem in the Congress is its infighting because all its senior leaders in Madhya Pradesh do not have cordial relations. This impacted the functioning of the state government and it was unable to work for the development of the state," said a senior BJP leader who was present in the legislative party meeting.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said the BJP, in its “brazen pursuit of power", is “destroying all democratic principles" and that forming governments by hook or by crook instead of winning people’s mandate in the elections was a new low in Indian democracy.
PTI contributed to this story