Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes oath as Madhya Pradesh’s chief minster at Raj Bhavan in Bhopal (ANI)
BHOPAL: BJP national vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in for a fourth term as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on Monday amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Chouhan took oath of office in a simple ceremony at Raj Bhawan around 9pm. Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath in the presence of select BJP functionaries, MLAs and top bureaucrats. Acting chief minister Kamal Nath and former chief minister Uma Bharti were also present.
The fight against Coronavirus would be his top priority, he said, greeting everyone with a ‘pranam’ rather than his usual two-palmed handshake. “Coronavirus has hit our state as well. We will join hands to fight the outbreak and overcome the threat. You all have made janata curfew successful on the call given by Prime Minister. This is a big leap, which will help break the spread of Coronavirus,” Chouhan said after the ceremony. Urging people to take care of elders, Chouhan said, “Be a responsible citizen and adhere to the instructions of the government to control the “Coronavirus outbreak.”
BJP functionary Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose shock defection with 22 loyalist MLAs brought down the Congress government, wrote on Twitter: “I will stand with you for the state’s development. I am sure under your leadership, Madhya Pradesh will set new milestones.”
मध्यप्रदेश में भाजपा की सरकार बनने और चौथी बार मुख्यमंत्री का पद संभालने पर श्री शिवराजसिंह चौहान जी को हार्दिक बधा… https://t.co/UeQ2r22S9Q
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) 1584975350000
Soon after assuming charge, Chouhan went to Mantralaya and called a meeting of senior bureaucrats where he gave instructions on measures to control the Coronavirus outbreak. “This is not the time to celebrate or burst crackers but to fight off the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “At this time we have only one aim — to control Coronavirus and secure the lives of people. This is my immediate priority. I appeal to party workers that this is not the time to celebrate. No one should celebrate. Do not come out on the roads. Just remain in your home and pray to god that a good government is functioning. There is only one aim — to eradicate the pandemic. I also pray to the Almighty to give us strength so that we can control it,” said Chouhan.
Earlier in the evening, the BJP legislature party elected Chouhan as its leader. Former minister Gopal Bhargava proposed his name and five MLAs — including former minister Narottam Mishra — seconded it. All the MLAs present in the meeting supported Chouhan through voice vote. Bhargava resigned as leader of opposition after party cleared name of Chouhan for the top seat.
The meeting was convened by central BJP observers Arun Singh and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who attended the proceedings via videoconferencing from Delhi due to the Coronavirus scare. In the meeting, MLAs were provided with masks and sanitisers. BJP state chief VD Sharma said almost all MLAs took part in the meeting and only legislators who are stationed at far-off places, like Rewa, Singrauli, Sidhi and Gwalior couldn’t. BJP chief JP Nadda had asked to ensure that there is no crowding at the meeting venue, so only MLAs were allowed without their assistants or security guards. During the meeting, Chouhan made a scathing attack on the 15-month-long Congress government, accusing it of “destroying the state”. “With collective efforts, we will put the state back on track of development and public welfare but I urge all colleagues that it isn’t a time for celebration,” he said, adding that he would start sitting in his office at Mantralaya on Monday night itself.
In the meeting, Chouhan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda for “giving him a chance to prove himself”. “During last 15 years, we tried to address the grievances of the public with the help of party workers. We will improve ourselves this time and change the style of working in the government. We will perform better and continue to make efforts for betterment,” he said.
In Video:Shivraj Singh Chouhan sworn in as Madhya Pradesh chief minister