Shivraj Singh Chouhan became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in 2005 and has been in power in the state since then, becoming one of the longest-serving chief ministers in the country. However, if the exit polls are to be believed, Chouhan is facing a tough battle this time and may have to struggle to retain his chair. Polling in Madhya Pradesh was held on November 28 and the state registered a voter turnout of 74.61 which was slightly above that recorded in the 2013 state elections. The state has witnessed a neck-and-neck contest in the run-up to elections and the same is expected when the results are declared on December 11.
Here’s a look at the contenders for the top post in Madhya Pradesh:
Shivraj Singh Chouhan:
The BJP has maintained that Shivraj Singh Chouhan will remain the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh if the party wins the elections. As a matter of fact, it is the Chouhan factor which has been highlighted by the BJP in the run up to the elections. Despite the exit polls suggesting a tough contest for him, the BJP strongman has said that he is confident of the party securing absolute majority. Before becoming the chief minister of MP, Chouhan has been a member of Lok Sabha for four consecutive terms. As the state unit chief of the BJP in 2005, Chouhan was elected to be the chief minister in 2005. He is fondly called ‘Mama’ in Madhya Pradesh.
Among the two top contenders within the Congress party for the top post is Kamal Nath, who has also served as a Union Minister, and is one of the longest serving, senior most members of Lok Sabha. In May 2018, Kamal Nath was elected as the chief of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee and he spearheaded the campaign for the party in the Assembly elections 2018. Though he has been targeted by the BJP on several occasions during the campaign over some of his statements, the Congress leadership has backed him firmly to lead the grand old party in Madhya Pradesh.
Son of deceased veteran Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia, Jyotiraditya Scindia is a popular face in Madhya Pradesh as well as the national political circle. Representing Guna constituency in Lok Sabha, Scindia is considered close to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and can often be seen sitting alongside the Gandhi scion in the Lok Sabha. Along with Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya has held several campaign rallies and roadshows across the state in the run up to the Assembly elections. If the Congress decides to bring in a young face for the top post, Scindia is the favourite.