Vishnu Deo Sai named Chhattisgarh’s first tribal chief minister

NEW DELHI | Updated: 10 December, 2023 9:03 pm IST
Vishnu Deo Sai announced as the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced Vishnu Deo Sai as Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister, making him the first tribal CM in the state. The announcement came following a consensus reached during the BJP Legislature Party meeting on Sunday.


Sai, a 59-year-old senior tribal leader, won the recent assembly polls from Kunkuri in north Chhattisgarh, a region where the saffron party achieved significant success. He has been a prominent figure in the BJP, previously serving as the party’s state president and a union minister.


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Expressing gratitude, Sai thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, party president JP Nadda, and other party leaders for their trust in him.


Sai, who has illustrated his first priority as CM is to sanction 18 lakh houses for beneficiaries of a housing scheme in the state. “Today, I have been unanimously chosen as the leader of the legislative assembly. I am thankful to PM Modi, Amit Shah, and BJP national president JP Nadda for showing trust in me,” Sai remarked on his appointment.


Hailing from the influential Sahu (Teli) community, holding substantial presence in Durg, Raipur, and Bilaspur divisions. Sai is regarded as a key figure among tribal voters. Union Minister Renuka Singh Saruta expressed her happiness, noting that his appointment marks the first time a party worker from the tribal community, belonging to a farmer’s family, has become the Chief Minister.


Sai’s political journey began in 1989 as the head of the Panch of Bagiya village, eventually becoming the uncontested Sarpanch in 1990.


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He won consecutive Assembly elections in 1990 and 1993 from the Tapkara constituency in undivided Madhya Pradesh, serving as a member of MP’s legislative assembly from 1990 to 1998.


In 2006, he was appointed as the state BJP Chief, and in 2009, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Raigad seat. Sai continued his winning streak in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. From 2014 to 2019, he served as a Minister of State in the Modi government, holding portfolios in Mines, Steel, Labour, and Employment.


BJP central observers Sarbananda Sonowal and Arjun Munda conducted a meeting in Raipur before the official announcement.  The polling in the state was held in two phases, with the first on November 7 featuring 223 candidates and the second seeing 958 candidates put their electoral fates to the test on November 17.  BJP secured 54 out of the 90 constituencies, while the Congress won 35 seats.


Sai’s close ties with former CM Raman Singh and the Sangh Parivar, along with his track record of advocacy for the tribal community, position him as a significant leader for the state. The swearing-in ceremony dates will be decided soon, according to BJP leader Brijmohan Agrawal.


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