BJP is seeing a gradual shift in the state leadership as the old guard is replaced by a new crop of leaders.
The bypolls in Madhya Pradesh will be the first major test for the new emerging leadership of the state BJP which has replaced the old guards of the organization and is trying to establish their own sphere of influence within the party. In the last two years, Madhya Pradesh had seen a gradual and silent shift in the organization of the BJP after the appointment of Vishnu Dutt Sharma as the state president of the party. In the Rajya Sabha nominations, the party had sidelined the old guards who used to dominate the state organization like Satyanarayan Jatiya and Prabhat Jha and had given chance to new leaders like Sumer Singh Solanki, Kailash Soni and Ajay Pratap Singh in recent times. Results for the Khandwa Lok Sabha bypoll and the three Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha constituencies—Prithvipur, Jobat and Raigaon—will be declared on 2 November.
Even many political experts argue that the power and influence of the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is not the same as it used to be between the 2005-18 period. The name of Narottam Mishra, who’s stature had grown in the party after 2019, had come time and again as the potential CM face of the party. A senior Lok Sabha member from the state said: “The party in the state is going through a transition phase. Leaders who used to form the core team of the party are replaced gradually by a new team. Between 2005-18, in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s three earlier tenures, leaders like Prabhat Jha were very influential within the party. Satyanarayan Jatiya was a seven-term parliamentarian. But now they are not so powerful in the party. Leaders like Vishnu Dutt Sharma and Narottam Mishra have gained prominence and are calling the shots.”
Experts who are closely observing the developments in Bhopal also argue that these bypolls are significant for Shivraj Singh Chouhan himself as the central leadership will analyse his performance and productivity in the state for the 2023 Assembly polls which is only two years away. Ujjain based senior political analyst Ramgopal Mishra said: “The road is not easy for Shivraj himself apart from the 15-month of Kamalnath rule, he had been at the driving seat for nearly 15-years and the BJP wants to develop a new leadership after him. The stature of V.D. Sharma had grown significantly within the party in the state. The BJP had removed many CMs to check the anti-incumbency in states, therefore you cannot predict what will happen after the bypolls. The saffron party had deputed more than a dozen ministers and 50 MLAs and the entire rank and file for the by-polls of three assembly seats and a Lok Sabha seat which is spread across the different regions of the state; it is all done under the supervision of Vishnu Datt sharma.” The four seats are spread across Madhya Pradesh with Khandwa in Nimar region Jobat (ST) in Alirajpur district on the MP-Gujarat border, Prithvipur in Bundelkhand, Raigaon—a Schedule Caste seat in Baghelkhand, and each had a distinct caste arithmetic.
In the bypolls whose results will be declared on 2 November, approximately 25 lakh voters will decide the fate of 48 candidates. The Jobat seat in Alirajpur and Prithvipur in Niwari fell vacant after the death of Congress MLAs Kalawati Bhuriya and Brijendra Singh Rathore, while the bypolls in Raigaon is happening due to the death of BJP MLA Jugal Kishore Bagri.