Bhopal: Sailing on a carefully cultivated image of a family man coupled with simplicity, son of a farmer Shivraj Singh Chouhan achieved a hat-trick for the BJP, a feat no other party stalwart ever accomplished in Madhya Pradesh.
54-year-old Chouhan, who is `Mama` (maternal uncle) to a large number of girls and "paon-paon wale Bhaiya" (man always on the move) to his followers, decimated Congress for the third time in a row reducing its tally to 58 from 71 in 2008.
The Chief Minister who prefers to maintain a low-profile despite his huge popularity as a secular leader and whom his party fondly describes as "Jan Nayak" (people`s leader) is always cautious on comparison with his Gujarat counterpart and BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Born on March 5, 1959 in a farmer`s family of Prem Singh Chouhan and Sundar Bai Chouhan at Jait village in Sehore district, his leadership skills first came to fore when he was elected as the President of Model Higher Secondary School Student`s Union in 1975.
He participated in underground movement against Emergency and was imprisoned in 1976-77 and on several other occasions for various political agitations and public causes.
A volunteer of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since 1977, Chouhan is a gold medalist in Masters of Philosophy from Barkatulla University, Bhopal.
Chouhan had replaced Babulal Gaur as Chief Minister on November 29, 2005, who had occupied the seat after the fiery sanyasin-politician Uma Bharti resigned in 2004, and has remained in the saddle since them.
But even before that Chouhan had represented the saffron stronghold Vidisha Parliamentary seat five times. He had also served as General Secretary of the BJP and state president of party`s Madhya Pradesh unit.
Chouhan`s spouse Sadhana Singh, though not active in political life, is said to be the persona behind Chouhan`s many decisions. Married in 1992, Chouhan has two sons.
Chouhan was first elected to the state assembly from Budhni constituency in 1990. He was elected a member of Parliament for the first time in 10th Lok Sabha from Vidisha constituency the following year.
In 1996, he was re-elected to the 11th Lok Sabha. In 1998, he was re-elected to 12th Lok Sabha for the third term, which he repeated in the 13th Lok Sabha election in 1999 and 14th Lok Sabha in 2004. He won his fifth Lok Sabha election with an impressive margin of over 2,60,000 votes.
In this period, he was a member in various Parliamentary Standing Committees on Urban Development, Rural Development, Human Resource Development and others.
He also served has National President of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 2000 to 2003 and National Secretary of Bhartiya Janta Party.
His fortunes, were, however, set to take another direction two years after the BJP led by Uma Bharti swept Madhya Pradesh assembly elections in 2003.
At that time, Chouhan contested polls unsuccessfully against the incumbent Chief Minister Digvijay Singh from Raghogarh.
Soon Bharti resigned and Gaur became Chief Minister in 2004 only to be replaced the next year. As the state BJP President, Chouhan was chosen as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on November 30, 2005.
He contested a bye-election from Budhni assembly constituency the following year, winning his old seat by a margin of over 36,000 votes. He retained the seat as well as the chief ministership.
Chouhan, a soft spoken leader, is known for implementing many pro-people welfare scheme including `Ladli Laxmi Yojana` (to financially help girl child in her education and marriage), `Mukhyamantri Theerth Yojana` (state-sponsored pilgrimage for elder people), Mukhyamantri Graam Sadak Yojana (to connect roads in rural areas which are not covered under `Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana`) and waiving farmers loan during his tenure as Chief Minister.
In his early political career, Chouhan has also been a convener of Akhil Bhartiya Keshariya Vahini in 1991-92, the General Secretary of All India Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 1992 onwards, the General Secretary of Bhartiya Janta Party, Madhya Pradesh from 1992 to 1994, a member of Consultative Committee, Ministry of Human Resources Development from 1992 to 1996.
He was also a Member of Committee on Labour and Welfare from 1993 to 1996 and a member of Hindi Salahkar Samiti from 1994 to 1996.