The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday elected former Cabinet minister Gopal Bhargava the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The development came after the state BJP early in the day convened a meeting of its MLAs to finalise the names of the LoP along with the candidates for speaker and deputy speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The party is likely to field Vijay Shah for the post of speaker. The party, which has 109 MLAs, would need at least six more votes to win the post. The Congress, on the other hand, would need just two seats and with the support of BSP MLAs, the party is likely to win the post easily.
According to reports, BJP's national observers - Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also took part in the meeting. Sources said the party has finalised the name of the LoP on the basis of leadership's recommendations. With former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan pulling out of the race it was a close fight between Narottam Mishra and Gopal Bhargava for the post of LoP.
"BJP MLA and Former State Minister Gopal Bhargava has been elected as the leader of opposition in Madhya Pradesh assembly," the news agency ANI reported.
BJP MLA and former minister Gopal Bhargav elected the leader of opposition in Madhya Pradesh assembly, reports ANI pic.twitter.com/s73TJPKB3e— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) January 7, 2019
Chouhan, however, has been assigned with the works related to the preparation and campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha Election 2019. He has been also included in the national Sankalp Patra committee.
There had been a tussle between the BJP leaders and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over the appointment of the LoP in Madhya Pradesh. While some BJP leaders, including former minister Gaurishankar Bisen, had openly voted for Shivraj, the Sangh Parivar were keen or handing over the responsibility to either Narottam Mishra or Gopal Bhargava.
BJP's defeat in recently concluded Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections is also largely attributed to the discontent among a large section of workers against the leadership. Senior leaders like Kailash Vijayavargiya, Babulal Gaur and Jaibhan Singh Pavaiya said the distribution of ticket was managed by former chief minister Chouhan himself and at many places, the BJP had lost the seat only because of a weak candidate.