Who is Mohan Yadav, BJP’s surprise pick for Madhya Pradesh CM

Chief Minister-designate Mohan Yadav, an OBC leader and three-time Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, started his political career when he was a student and rose to become higher education minister of Madhya Pradesh where he announced to make Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas as an optional subject in colleges in 2021.

In a surprise move, Yadav was on Monday evening elected as the BJP legislature party leader at a meeting in Bhopal, paving the way for him to take over as the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

The 58-year-old politician, considered to be close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is seen as a vocal Hindutva leader.

He is a three-time MLA from Ujjain South and a prominent leader of OBCs, who account for more than 48 per cent of the state’s population.

He first became a minister in 2020 when the BJP came back to power following the collapse of the Congress government led by Kamal Nath.

Yadav was born on March 25, 1965, in Ujjain, the city which is synonymous with the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlings.

He began his political career as joint secretary of Madhav Science College Ujjain in 1982 and was later elected as its president in 1984. Yadav holds a doctorate (PhD) besides LLB and MBA degrees.

Yadav has been associated with the RSS since his young days and from 1993 to 1995, he was its functionary in Ujjain city, said an office-bearer of the Hindutva organisation.

Elected as an MLA for the first time in 2013 from Ujjain South, Yadav served as chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) from 2011-13. He was re-elected from the seat in 2018 and again in 2023.

Yadav, the higher education minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, defeated his nearest rival, Congress candidate Chetan Yadav, by margin of 12,941 votes in the November 17 polls.

In 2021, Yadav had announced to include the lessons of Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas as an elective (optional) course under the philosophy subject for first-year students of graduation (BA).

He had also moved a proposal to rename the Hindi nomenclature of the vice-chancellor’s post in state universities from ‘kulpati‘ to ‘kulguru‘.

Yadav is the first leader to become chief minister from the temple town of Ujjain where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dedicated the newly-constructed Mahakal Lok corridor last year.

His jubilant supporters said Yadav got the top job because of the blessings of Lord Mahakal (Lord Shiva).

Alleged irregularities in the construction of Mahakal Lok corridor was made a major poll issue by the Congress.

The over 900-metre-long corridor — Mahakal Lok — near the famous Lord Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain suffered damage in May due to a windstorm.

Since then Congress has been targeting the ruling party alleging irregularities in the redevelopment project around the ancient shrine.

However, in an interview to PTI on October 11, Yadav termed it as a ‘false propaganda’.

Yadav also served as chairman of the Ujjain Development Authority (UDA) from 2004-2010. The religious town hosts Simhast (Kumbh) mela every 12 years.

The BJP MLA, who is married to Seema Yadav, has two sons and a daughter.

Soon after being elected as the BJP legislature party leader, Yadav said he would work to fulfil the expectations of the people of the state and thanked the party leadership for reposing faith on a ‘small worker’.

“I am going to work to the expectations of the people of the state who have overwhelmingly voted for the BJP. The BJP has given a big responsibility to a small worker. I am going to work to the expectations of the party,” he said.

“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party president JP Nadda. I will work on the welfare and development (schemes) launched by Modiji and (outgoing) chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Yadav said.

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