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BJP picks ‘RSS man’ Gopal Bhargav as Leader of Opposition in MP Assembly

Bhopal: BJP MLA Gopal Bhargav, considered to be close to the RSS leadership, was on Monday elected the Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, emerging winner in what was mainly an all-Brahmin contest. The announcement came hours after the central cabinet approved a proposal of offering 10% reservation quota to economically backward upper castes.
Bhargav, an eight time MLA, was in the race with four others — former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who eventually distanced himself; Chouhan’s aide Rajendra Shukla; former minister Narottam Mishra who is considered to be in the books of the party leadership and outgoing speaker Sitasharan Sharma.
Home minister Rajnath Singh who was appointed central observer alongside state in-charge Vinay Sahastrabuddhe to oversee the process. Singh claimed it was former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who had proposed Bhargav’s name and it was seconded by Narottam Mishra. Mishra was a contender for the post and many believe he has been promised something by the party to backtrack in this contest.
Sources, however, claimed that the central observers had one-one-one chats with over two dozen senior MLAs in order to forge consensus before the legislature party meeting got underway.
Bhargav has served as Panchayat and Rural Development minister in Shivraj Singh government and was made a minister first time in 2003.
His nomination is widely seen as BJP’s growing anxiousness over resentment of unreserved categories over the quota issue. MP was among the state singed by the anti-quota stirs.
As Bhargav, MLA from Rehli in Sagar district, was picked up as the leader of Opposition, RSS also took control of things to an extent as names including former minister Narottam Mishra who has party high command’s backing and Rajendra Shukla, the choice of ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan also were in the hunt. Bhargav, being the senior most MLA in the House, had emerged as the hot favourite for the post after Chouhan had expressed unwillingness for the responsibility. Representing Rehli assembly seat continuously since 1985, Bhargav has won from here for consecutive eight times and is the second MLA after exCM Babulal Gaur (with ten wins).

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