BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh have a tough task these days — reading party national president Amit Shah's mind.
Till July first week, appointment of senior BJP leader Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, a confidant of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, looked merely a formality as state president but Amit Shah's appointment as the BJP national president later kept everybody guessing if he would give his nod to Chauhan's name. Almost three weeks more, now worry is visible in Chouhan camp about the outcome.
The worry is not without premise. The chief minister threw his weight behind veteran party leader Kailash Joshi for his appointment as a governor. His name did the rounds in the party circles for about a week as one of the strongest candidates for the coveted post.
But in the first list of governors appointed at the behest of the Centre, Joshi's name was not to be found. To make matters worse for Joshi and, of course, for Chouhan camp, senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member Kaptan Singh Solanki proved a dark horse at least in comparison to the party heavyweights in the state BJP and he was appointed governor of Haryana.
Solanki has been very critical of the party's and the government's functioning.
Solanki was the state BJP general secretary (organisation) when Chouhan took over as the CM in November, 2005. Chouhan's coronation led to Solanki's departure from the state BJP office headquarters.
Solanki's appointment was just another jolt for the party leaders including Chouhan and state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar. Earlier, Indore MP Sumitra Mahajan was chosen as the speaker of Lok Sabha. "In departure of the earlier practice, the party leaders from Madhya Pradesh were not even consulted in appointment of Indore MP Sumitra Mahajan as speaker of Lok Sabha. This sent out a clear message to the party that Modi was not going to allow Chouhan to have a free hand in all the matters of the party," said a senior BJP leader requesting anonymity.
According to party leaders, delay in the appointment of the state BJP president means more worry in Chouhan-Tomar duo camp.
Even if Chouhan and Tomar ultimately have their say in getting Nandkumar Singh Chauhan or any other leader like Vinod Gotia etc appointed as state BJP chief, their authority over the party will stand diminished.
This is why the party leaders are trying to read Amit Shah's mind as to what he is thinking about the party's structure and the new set-up in the party.
The possibility is Shah would take decision on the state BJP president post only after declaring his own team in August.