NEW DELHI

BJP leadership dispute continues

Staff Correspondent

BHOPAL: One crucial question every politician and bureaucrat here in the State capital is busy asking these days is when and how soon the Bharatiya Janata Party would resolve the Madhya Pradesh leadership issue. It seems everyone has already concluded that Chief Minister Babulal Gaur would be replaced and there is no dearth of speculation in bureaucratic and political circles about his probable successor.

In the midst of speculation, the different factions and powerful lobbies within the BJP are busy claiming majority support in the State Assembly.

The followers of former Chief Minister Uma Bharti have been demanding that the Chief Minister's post should automatically go to Ms. Bharti since she had led the BJP to power in the State and had relinquished office on technical grounds in view of the Hubli riot case in which she has already been discharged by court.

However the other factions are not prepared to concede ground. There is a strong BJP lobby led by a veteran leader like Sunderlal Patwa that has been working overtime in the past few days to block Ms. Bharti's chances of returning to power.

In the meanwhile, the State BJP President, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who has repeatedly asserted that he was not in the race for the Chief Minister's post, has also emerged as a frontrunner among those likely to be considered as a successor to Mr. Gaur.

The different State BJP factions have also started floating various other names to counter their rivals. Some prominent names doing the rounds in political circles include those of former Union Ministers Vikram Verma, Sumitra Mahajan, Prahlad Patel and the senior State Minister, Gauri Shankar Shejwar.