Shivraj Singh Chouhan is probably good at what he does — politics — as he will become the longest serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on Monday.
Chouhan equalled Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s feat of being in the office for 10 years on Sunday, a record no other chief minister could achieve since the state was formed on November 1, 1956, and beat it a day later on November 30.
In the 59-year-old political history of the state, 17 people have held the post of chief minister.
Between Chouhan and Singh, they held the office for 20 years while the rest of the 39 years were shared among 15 chief ministers.
The thrice-elected Chouhan has been having a smooth sail until the massive recruitment scam, also known as Vyapam scam, rocked the boat.
The recent rout suffered by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Ratlam-Jhabua bypoll too has blown away the screws of his chair.
Besides Chouhan and Singh, only two other chief ministers, Kailash Narayan Katju (1967 to 1962) and Arjun Singh (1980 to 1985) have enjoyed full terms.
“The frequent change of CMs in the years of Congress rule was a result of many factors.
The central leadership sought to control CMs through the frequent changes, created opposition within the party and tackled anti-incumbency by changing the CMs,” said senior journalist Deepak Tiwari who has documented the political history of the state in a book titled ‘Rajnitinama Madhya Pradesh’.
The first truly non-Congress government in Madhya Pradesh between June 1977 and February 1980 also saw three chief ministers: Kailash Joshi, VK Saklecha and Sunderlal Patwa.
Among the 17 chief ministers the state has seen, nine were from the Congress, four fromBharatiya Janata Party, two from the Janata Party but originally from Jana Sangh and two from the 20-month rule of Samyukta Vidhayak Dal.
The chief minister with the shortest tenure was Raja Naresh Chandra Singh (March 13 1969 to March 25 1969).