The BJP today finally announced the Chief Minister face for Chhattisgarh ending the seven days of suspence. Amid the speculation of a surprise pick, the BJP has appointed Vishnu Deo Sai as the Chief Minister, said Zee News sources. Sai is the tribal face of the BJP. He is also a former MP and former Union Minister. He is likely to get two Deputy Chief Ministers but the names of his deputies have not been announced yet. This is BJP’s attempt to set the caste equation right and woo the OBCs, tribals and Adivasi voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to be held in April-May next year.
BJP दफ्तर में नाच रहे कार्यकर्ता, छत्तीसगढ़ के CM के लिए विष्णु देव का नाम आने से ख़ुशी का माहौल #ChhattisgarhCM #BJP #MLAs #VishnuDeoSai | @anchorjiya @ashwinipande pic.twitter.com/J5nLJxnWaa
— Zee News (@ZeeNews) December 10, 2023
The decision was taken during a meeting of the BJP legislative party held in the presence of party’s three observers. A member of the Adivasi community, Sai has been associated with the BJP since 1980 and presently represents the Kunkuri constituency in the Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha. Notably, Chhattisgarh has the highest Adivasi population in the country, and speculations about the BJP leaning towards an Adivasi candidate have now materialized.
Vishnu Dev Sai assumed the role of Pradesh Adhyaksh (State President) for the BJP in 2020, adding to his extensive political portfolio that includes prior positions as a Member of Parliament and a Union Minister. His close ties with the RSS and former Chief Minister Raman Singh further enhance his political standing.
The decision to appoint Vishnu Dev Sai as the Chief Minister is viewed as a strategic move by the BJP to establish stronger connections with the Adivasi community in the state. Given his wealth of political experience and past contributions to the party, Sai is anticipated to bring a distinctive perspective to the leadership of Chhattisgarh.
Earlier, it was speculated that the BJP may go for an OBC or a tribal chief minister if it doesn’t pick party stalwart Raman Singh. Singh had served as CM thrice from 2003 to 2018. Before the final announcement, potential CM candidate’s names included Vishnu Deo, Renuka Singh, state BJP chief Arun Sao, Gomti Sai, who resigned as MPs after being elected as an MLA, former state ministers Ramvichar Netam and Lata Usendi, and bureaucrat-turned-politician O P Choudhary. Renuka Singh, Ramvichar Netam, Lata Usendi, and Gomti Sai were other contenders from the tribal community.