BJP’s bold move: Vishnu Deo Sai to become Chhattisgarh’s new Chief Minister

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In a dramatic turn of events, Vishnu Deo Sai, a prominent tribal leader and former Union Minister, has been chosen as the BJP’s pick for the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, marking a pivotal moment ahead of the 2024 general election. The announcement came this afternoon as Sai was elected the leader of the BJP’s legislature party by the 54 newly-elected MLAs.

This strategic decision, following a week of intense deliberations, aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of promoting a tribal leader in a state where tribals constitute 32% of the population. The BJP, initially torn between choosing a tribal or an OBC member, ultimately favored the tribal community, reflecting the party’s exceptional performance in the state’s tribal areas.

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Vishnu Deo Sai’s election signals a significant shift in the BJP’s approach, as the party historically struggled to gain favor among tribal voters. However, this time, it managed a remarkable turnaround, securing all 14 assembly seats in the Surguja region and eight of the 12 seats in Bastar, both tribal-dominated areas.

Political Upheaval in Chhattisgarh: Vishnu Deo Sai Rises as BJP's Chief Ministerial Choice

Political Upheaval in Chhattisgarh: Vishnu Deo Sai Rises as BJP’s Chief Ministerial Choice. Photo courtesy of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly/Wikimedia Commons.

Known for his organizational capabilities and non-controversial image, 59-year-old Vishnu Deo Sai enjoys the backing of both the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP’s ideological mentor, and former Chief Minister Raman Singh. His tenure as the Chhattisgarh unit president of the party from 2020 to 2022 has been marked by significant achievements.

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Vishnu Deo Sai’s selection reflects a broader shift in BJP’s political strategy, aiming to resonate with a larger segment of the state’s population. His tenure as the junior minister for steel in the Modi government further adds to his administrative credentials.

Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and other party leaders, Vishnu Deo Sai promised to fulfill Modi’s guarantees through his government. His immediate focus will be on sanctioning 18 lakh houses to beneficiaries of a housing scheme.

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The BJP’s victory in the recent Chhattisgarh assembly election, winning 54 seats in the 90-member Assembly and overthrowing the Congress, was a testament to the party’s changing fortunes in the state. Vishnu Deo Sai’s appointment as the Chief Minister marks a new chapter in Chhattisgarh’s political narrative, bringing a tribal leader to the forefront and potentially reshaping the state’s future.

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