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'An RSS Man': 3 Reasons Why BJP Chose Mohan Yadav as Next Madhya Pradesh CM

BJP yet again pulled a shocker by naming Ujjain South MLA Mohan Yadav as the new CM of Madhya Pradesh.

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Outgoing chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Union Jal Shakti Minister Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, and former Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar – the Bharatiya Janata Party had three major contenders for the Madhya Pradesh chief ministerial post.

And yet, the party appears to have pulled another rabbit out of its hat by naming Ujjain South MLA Mohan Yadav as the new CM of the state, surprising many, if not all. 

Mohan Yadav, a member of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) Ahir community, has a strong RSS background and was appointed unanimously by the legislative party on Monday, 11 December.

But why Mohan Yadav? This question has been in the air since Monday evening, when the party first broke the news.

Here are 3 factors that may have contributed to this decision.

BJP yet again pulled a shocker by naming Ujjain South MLA Mohan Yadav as the new CM of Madhya Pradesh.

Mohan Yadav, a member of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community, has a strong RSS background and was appointed unanimously by the legislative party on Monday, 11 December.

(Photo: Special Arrangement/The Quint)

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1. An RSS Man Through & Through

Mohan Yadav began his political career in 1982 as the co-secretary of the Madhav Science College Student Union. He rose to the position of president in 1984.

He then went on to become the Ujjain president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1984 and held the position till 1986.

His association with the RSS was strengthened as he rose through the ranks within the ABVP and later the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). 

A senior BJP leader, while exiting the meeting that appointed Yadav as the next Madhya Pradesh CM, said:

"There was only one name proposed, that was of Mohan Yadav. There were no other names, no contest. He has been chosen as the leader of the legislative party unanimously by all the MLAs."

The announcement, however, came as a shock to BJP supporters who had gathered outside the party office as senior leaders mulled over the CM face.

The BJP leader further said that the name was proposed following the diction of RSS, and that the party leaders have supported the decision. 

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2. BJP's Focus on Caste Engineering

As the news sunk in, media persons struggled to gain access to the Madhya Pradesh BJP office where the change was officially stamped, sealed, and delivered by the three observers – Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Rajya Sabha MP Dr K Laxman, and BJP national secretary Asha Lakra.

Experts, meanwhile, believe that the BJP played the long game in appointing Mohan Yadav as the CM.

Over the last few months, debates and discussions surrounding the caste census have taken centre stage. With its choice of CM, the BJP appears to have considered both caste equations and centralised control.

"Most of the party leaders didn't anticipate the name of Mohan Yadav. BJP has played a mature game by appointing a considerably young CM, with Yadav being around 58 years old. They have also replaced an OBC with an OBC, thus giving no space to the Opposition to make any caste claims. This will further strengthen their OBC outreach," said a BJP leader privy to what went on at the legislative party meeting in MP.

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3. Major Boost to Second-Line Leadership

A senior journalist who has watched the state BJP closely said that by promoting Mohan Yadav, "the party has invested for the next 15 years."

"The message is loud and clear. They needed a 'yes man', they needed someone who can sustain the party for another 10-15 years, and could play along the hardline Hindutva rhetoric of the party, while also consolidating the OBC vote bank," said the journalist.

Yadav has been in the second line of leadership in Madhya Pradesh since winning his first Assembly elections in 2013 when Shivraj's popularity was on the rise. 

He repeated his success in 2018 and retained his seat, but the BJP couldn't form the government. 

After Scindia switched sides from the Congress to the BJP in 2020, Shivraj Singh Chouhan became the CM for the fourth time.

Mohan Yadav also received a ministerial berth in the fourth Cabinet of the former CM and was appointed the higher education minister. However, BJP sources say that Yadav's name was proposed by a senior RSS functionary.

In November 2023, Mohan Yadav retained his seat winning by a margin of around 13,000 votes.

Another factor behind Yadav's sudden promotion is, perhaps, the upcoming Lok Sabha and Bihar elections. 

Experts also opine that Mohan Yadav, who belongs to the Yadav community (a dominant OBC caste in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and other Hindi speaking states), could play an important role in shifting these votes towards the BJP.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  CM   Shivraj Singh Chouhan   ujjain 

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