Sai (59) had earlier served as Union Minister of State for Steel, Mines, Labour and Employment during the first tenure of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government.
“I was elected as leader of BJP’s legislative party during a meeting of 54 newly-elected MLAs. I also want to express my gratitude to the workers of the BJP for the party’s spectacular victory. Along with that, I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda, and other central leaders as well,” Sai said after being named as the next CM of Chhattisgarh.
Speaking to press reporters, he further said: “With all honesty, I will work for ‘Sabka Vishwas’ and the promises made to the people of Chhattisgarh under ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’ will be fulfilled. As a CM of the state, I will try to fulfill the promises. The first work will be to give 18 lakh ‘Awas’ (houses) to the people.”
The decision to name Sai for the chief ministerial post was taken at the BJP legislature party meeting here, sources said on Sunday.
The meeting was held in the presence of three observers appointed by the central BJP leadership.
The BJP central leadership has appointed Union Ministers Arjun Munda, Sarbananda Sonowal, and party general secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam as observers for Chhattisgarh.
The meeting was attended by 54 newly elected MLAs, including former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh.
Speculations suggested that the party might give another CM term to the veteran BJP.
However, this time, the BJP has appointed a fresh face for the CM post.
Sai, a tribal leader, was earlier appointed as the chief of the BJP’s Chhattisgarh unit in 2020, two years after the party faced a rout in the Assembly polls.
He was replaced by Arun Sao in August 2022, around a year before the recently concluded Chhattisgarh polls.
Born in February 1964 to a farmer’s family in Bagiya village of Jashpur district, Sai belongs to the tribal community.
Sai began his political career after he was elected as Sarpanch of his village.
He contested the first assembly election as a BJP candidate in 1990 and won.
After getting elected as an MLA, Sai gained further momentum in his political career and emerged as an influential tribal leader in the region.
In 1999, he contested the first Lok Sabha election and won.
He won three consecutive (2004, 2009 and 2014) Lok Sabha elections.
Sai was appointed as the Union Minister during the first tenure of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
He was named the Chhattisgarh unit BJP chief in 2006.
In 2011, he was again made the BJP state president.
In July 2023, he was appointed as a member of the National Working Committee of the BJP.
The BJP contested the recently concluded Chhattisgarh Assembly polls without declaring any CM face.
The saffron party bagged 54 of the total 90 seats, unseating Congress from power. The Congress got 35 seats, down from the 68 it won in 2018.
Sai, who won the election from Kunkuri assembly constituency, is also said to be close to former Chief Minister Raman Singh.
Meanwhile, a source told Ajit Weekly News that Sai’s name for CM post was also pushed by the party’s central leadership.
The source also claimed that the observers came to the meeting with the proposal of two names — Arun Sao (state unit president) and Vishnu Deo Sai.
Eyeing on Lok Sabha elections in the next few months, the BJP leadership picked a tribal face as CM.
During the election campaign, addressing a rally in the Kunkuri constituency, Home Minister Amit Shah had urged people to elect Sai, promising to make the latter a ”big man” if the party comes back to power in the state.
In the 2018 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 9 out of the total 11 seats in the state, while the Congress bagged only two constituencies.
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S