(MENAFN- IANS) Bhopal, Dec 11 (IANS) The meeting of the BJP legislatures to select its Chief Minister for Madhya Pradesh will be held here on Monday.
Three observers -- Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, OBC Morcha head Dr. K. Lakshman and National Secretary Asha Lakra will make the assessments and they will also meet some leaders individually.
The legislative party meeting is scheduled at 4 p.m. at the BJP headquarters in Bhopal. However, all the BJP MLAs have been asked to reach the party headquarters two hours ahead of the meeting.
The BJP MLAs have been strictly directed to refrain from making any comment on the CM issue with the media, until the decision is taken in the legislative party meeting.
The possibility of incumbent CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan being asked to continue in the position, at least till the Lok Sabha polls cannot be ruled out. However, there are several contenders in the race to replace him.
Notably, the BJP has contested the election without projecting Chouhan as the CM face. The step was taken in a bid to counter high anti-incumbency against his two-decade rule in Madhya Pradesh. Now, it is to be seen if the BJP leadership retains Chouhan or comes out with a new face.
The contenders who are in race to replace Chouhan includes -- Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and former Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel (both OBC politicians like Chouhan), ex-Union minister and BJP's state poll management committee chief Narendra Singh Tomar and state BJP president V.D. Sharma and state ministers Gopal Bhargava and Rajendra Shukla (all from the upper caste).
The dark horses include national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya (a Vaishya) and Sumer Singh Solanki (first time tribal MP). In case the party opts for a woman for the post, two-time former MP and first time MLA Riti Pathak may be named as the CM.
However, with the BJP already opting for a tribal leader as the CM in Chhattisgarh, and the last three CMs in MP being OBCs (where they constitute half of the state's population), including Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Late Babulal Gaur and Uma Bharti, the possibility of an OBC face being named as CM seems strong.
If Chouhan is not asked to continue and the party opts for a fresh OBC face, Prahlad Singh Patel and Jyotiraditya Scindia could be the frontrunners. While Patel comes from the powerful Lodhi caste, Scindia hails from Kurmi caste.
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