BJP vice-president and MLA from Budhni Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday took oath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for a fourth term. The oath was administered by Governor Lalji Tandon at 9 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Chouhan was elected unopposed as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party paving the way for his appointment as Chief Minister.
Mr. Chouhan told legislators that his priority was to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. “I will go to the Vallabh Bhavan (Secretariat) tonight itself to contain corona. Like a family, we need to fight this disease.”
Work in constituencies
Cautioning party workers against launching into celebration mode, Mr. Chouhan said, “This is not the time to celebrate or come outside houses. We need to start working immediately. We need to carry forward the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
He called upon the 107 BJP MLAs to tour their regions to spread awareness on the disease. “We have to fight this epidemic; there is no other priority. With all the strength, we will fight it. I want all your cooperation.”
At the meeting, Gopal Bhargava, former Leader of the Opposition, had proposed Mr. Chouhan’s name, even as party National General Secretary Arun Singh and party State in-charge Vinay Sahasrabuddhe conducted the proceedings through video-conferencing from New Delhi.
“Let’s make a new beginning,” Mr Chouhan said. “For 15 years, I ran an efficient administration, but will make it better this time. We will not repeat any mistakes that may have happened in the past, and make Madhya Pradesh the number one State in the country.”
Reverse Cong. harm
Mr. Chouhan further said he would work towards undoing the destruction wrecked upon the State by the previous Congress regime.
Meanwhile, Kamal Nath, who resigned as the Chief Minister on March 20, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and briefed her on the political turmoil in the State.
Throughout the three-week upheaval in the State, Mr. Chouhan repeatedly distanced the BJP from the crisis, and termed it an internal matter of the Congress. While in Opposition whenever factional fissures emerged within the Congress, he professed that the government would fall under its own weight.
Mr. Chouhan’s election marks the culmination of a bitter political battle over 22 rebel Congress MLAs, owing allegiance of former Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose resignation and move to the BJP pulled the rug from under the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government.
Congratulating him, Mr. Scindia said on Twitter: “I stand by you at all times in the State’s progress and development. I have full faith that under your leadership, Madhya Pradesh will establish new dimensions of progress.”