Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar is in the eye of a storm, with an alleged video of his son purportedly asking for a deal of Rs 500 crore, went viral.
Though Tomar is an MP and a central minister, the BJP has fielded him from the Dimani constituency in Madhya Pradesh's Morena district in the Assembly elections. This has also sparked rumours that the BJP high command may be considering Tomar as a possible replacement for incumbent CM Shivraj Chouhan in case it is voted back to power.
Polling will be held in Madhya Pradesh on 17 November.
Why has a central minister like him being fielded in an Assembly election?
What's his response to the allegations against his son?
Is he in the running to be CM?
The Quint posed some of these questions to Tomar during our interview with him.
'I respect the party's call to field senior leaders
On being asked why he has been fielded in an Assembly election despite being a Union minister, Tomar said, "The party leadership decided to field senior leaders in this Assembly election. I respect the party's decision".
He dismissed the Opposition's allegations that the BJP's decision stems from fear of losing.
We are not afraid, it is the Congress which is afraid. They have nothing to showcase to the people.Narendra Singh Tomar, Union agriculture minister
He said that the BJP has been gaining ground as the elections come closer.
'Shivraj Singh Chouhan is our chief minister'
According to Tomar, too much is being made out of the BJP not declaring a CM candidate.
We haven't declared a CM candidate in Chhattisgarh or Rajasthan. In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is our chief minister.
He added that the CM will be decided after the elections.
'I'm not in the race to be CM'
Tomar flatly denied being in the race to be CM.
I am a worker of the party. I have never being in the running for CM and I am not in the running even now.Narendra Singh Tomar
What's Tomar's response to the allegations against his son?
On being asked on the allegations against his son and the videos that are going viral, Tomar said, "My tweet is enough. I don't want to say anything else".
On 14 November, Tomar had posted on X (formerly Twitter), that the video is "fake" and part of a "pre-planned conspiracy by the Opposition to deceive the people".
He requested the police to look into the matter.
'Data on farmers' suicides being exaggerated'
As he is the agriculture minister, we asked Tomar about the rising instances of farmers dying by suicide.
He said, "These numbers are being exaggerated. Farmers dying by suicide isn't the same as suicides that take place due to farming. Many farmers may have been driven by personal reasons".