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Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders dismiss speculations of change of guard

Meetings between senior leaders, Scindia’s proposed Bhopal visit fuelled speculations

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan | PTI Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan | PTI

A day after speculations on cabinet reshuffle and change of guard in Uttar Pradesh were refuted by the BJP state in-charge Radha Mohan Singh, senior leaders in Madhya Pradesh made statements dismissing similar speculations in the central Indian state.

MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya who also hails from MP, both made it clear that the government in the state will continue to be led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

“Shivraj Singh Chouhan was, is and will continue to be the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. All of us in BJP are united under the leadership of Chouhan and (BJP state president) Vishnu Dutt Sharma. All those who want to indulge in fake news arising out of social media could continue to do so,” Mishra told media persons on Monday morning.

Vijayvargiya who is also in Bhopal said that he was nowhere in the race (to be MP CM) and was rather ‘engaged elsewhere’. He also said that media and social media were free to cook up any story they wanted.

Rumours over purported change of guard, shifting of Chouhan to centre, Mishra leading the race for CM and Scindia, Vishnu Dutt Sharma to take oath as CM on June 13, and Vijayvargiya and Scindia getting into union cabinet were all making rounds on social media for the past few days.

These speculations were fuelled by one-to-one meetings between senior leaders like Vijayvargiya, Mishra, Union minister Prahlad Patel, Vishnu Dutt Sharma and former state president Prabhat Jha and also a meeting of Patel with Sharma in presence of MP BJP organizing general secretary Suhas Bhagat and his deputy Hitanand. Except for Sharma, none of the leaders met CM Chouhan one-to-one in the duration, further fuelling the surmise that a change of guard was in the offing.

After news that Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia was to visit Bhopal on June 9, the speculations were fired further and social media became agog with messages.

Though the BJP continued to deny any political meanings into the ‘courtesy meetings’ between the leaders, the rumours continued to flow, leading Mishra and Vijayvargiya to make denial statements on Monday.

Congress took an expected dig at the developments. MPCC chief Kamal Nath’s media coordinator Narendra Saluja tweeted to ask whether the pressure politics of the senior BJP leaders had worked and they had managed to make Shivraj bend? “Narottam Mishra and Kailash Vijayvargiya who themselves fuelled different rumours by conducting closed door meetings have now changed their tunes. They are saying Shivraj was, is and will be there. Has their pressure politics worked?”

Saluja further said, “But in a sentence, Vijayvargiya said a lot. When he (Vijayvarigya) was asked whether he was in the race for CM, he said – I am engaged elsewhere at present. This means aspirations are still boiling. What is the stand of Prabhat Jha, Prahlad Patel and V.D. Sharma (on the developments)?”

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