After 4 stints as CM, Shivraj Chouhan enters Union cabinet for 1st time

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Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes oath as Union Cabinet Minister in the Modi Cabinet 2024

Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes oath as Union Cabinet Minister in the Modi Cabinet 2024

Bhopal: Proving wrong his detractors' claim of being sidelined after denial of CM's post for fifth time last year, BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan won Madhya Pradesh's Vidisha Lok Sabha seat for the sixth time by a record margin of 8.21 lakh votes.

The former four-time MP chief minister, popularly known as "mama" (maternal uncle) and "paon-paon wale bhaiya" (foot soldier), assiduously worked on his 'soil of the soil' image and identified himself with the socio-economic concerns of farmers, villagers, women and children in the state.

During his more than 18-year-tenure as the CM, barring 15 months of Congress rule (in 2018), Chouhan transformed himself from being a shy, simple and vulnerable politician to a wily leader with a mass appeal and unparallel hard work.

Having the image of a soft-spoken man coupled with simplicity, the 65-year-old leader led the BJP's campaign in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in the state, presenting himself as one among the people, promising further development and no dearth of funds for populist schemes launched under his leadership.

On Sunday, Chouhan became the Union cabinet minister for the first time in his more than three-decade-long political career.

His induction into the Union cabinet was amply clear after Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded him at a rally in Madhya Pradesh before the Lok Sabha polls.

"Our brother Shivraj ji is the candidate from Vidisha. We both used to work together in the organisation, we both were chief ministers. When Shivraj went to Parliament, we were working together as the general secretary of the party. Now I want to take him with me (to Delhi) once again."

Born on March 5, 1959 in a farming family of Prem Singh Chouhan and Sundar Bai Chouhan at Jait village in Sehore district, Shivraj Singh Chouhan's political journey began with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when he was just 13 years old.

His leadership skills first came to the fore when he was elected president of the Model Higher Secondary School students' union in 1975.

He participated in the underground movement against Emergency and was imprisoned in 1976-77 and also on many other occasions for political agitations and public causes.

A volunteer of the RSS since 1977, Chouhan is a gold medalist in Masters of Philosophy from the Barkatullah University in Bhopal.

He also served as general secretary of the BJP and president of the party's MP unit.

Chouhan was first elected to the MP assembly from Budhni constituency in 1990. He was elected as Member of Parliament for the first time from Vidisha constituency the following year. He was re-elected from the seat in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. He won his fifth Lok Sabha election with an impressive margin of over 2,60,000 votes.

In the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and Chouhan campaigned extensively for the BJP in the state where the party won all the 29 Lok Sabha seats, including Congress bastion Chhindwara, which the saffron party failed to win in 2019.

Though Chouhan was not projected as the BJP's chief ministerial face in the 2023 MP assembly polls, he turned the tables in favour of his party by launching game-changer schemes like the Ladli Behna to beat anti-incumbency against his then government.

In 2020, when the then Congress government collapsed, the BJP central leadership, in a surprise move, chose Chouhan as the CM for the fourth term when the COVID-19 pandemic was peaking in the state.

Though the opposition Congress has linked Chouhan to the multi-crore Vyapam scam, he emerged unscathed. The CBI has given him a clean chit in the case.