Born in Bagia in Jashpur district, Vishnu Deo Sai hails from a politically active family. His political journey began in the 1980s, with the backing of senior BJP leader Dilip Singh Judev. A member of the Gond community in the Surguja tribal belt, Sai’s early political career saw setbacks, notably consecutive losses in the Pathalgaon constituency during the 2003 and 2008 Assembly polls.
Tribal Leadership and Acceptance
Known for his soft-spoken demeanour, Sai has emerged as one of the most accepted leaders in the Chhattisgarh BJP, particularly among the tribal communities. As a three-time state BJP president, he demonstrated effective party leadership during his tenures. His recent victory in the Kunkuri seat in Surguja, securing a win by 25,541 votes, further solidified his standing within the party.
Amit Shah’s Promise and Political Resurgence
During the election campaign, BJP’s key strategist and Union Home Minister Amit Shah publicly pledged to make Vishnu Deo Sai a “big man” if the BJP secured victory. The party’s subsequent decision to appoint him as Chief Minister reflects a commitment to honouring seniority and acknowledging Sai’s ability to navigate various factions within the state unit.
Effective Party Leadership
Having served as a four-time Lok Sabha MP and a two-time MLA in undivided Madhya Pradesh, Sai’s political experience spans both state and national levels. His leadership roles within the party, including state president, have showcased his effectiveness in organisational matters. Despite facing challenges, Sai’s resurgence is attributed to his resilience and commitment to the party’s ideals.
Significance of Tribal Representation
Sai’s appointment holds significance in the context of tribal representation, considering Chhattisgarh’s demographic composition. The Surguja division’s dominance in tribal regions played a pivotal role in the BJP’s overall seat tally of 54, with the party sweeping all 14 Assembly seats in Surguja. This electoral success in tribal belts contributed significantly to the BJP’s impressive performance in the state.
Challenges and Setbacks
While Sai faced setbacks earlier in his political career, particularly in the 2003 and 2008 Assembly polls, his return to the political forefront underscores his ability to overcome challenges. The party’s decision to entrust him with leadership responsibilities reflects confidence in Sai’s capacity to lead Chhattisgarh through its current political landscape.
Strategic Geographic Wins
The BJP’s triumph in Surguja, where Sai secured his electoral victory, and in the southern tribal belt of Bastar, where the party won eight out of 12 seats, strategically positioned the BJP for success. The party’s focus on tribal regions played a pivotal role in shifting the political dynamics of the state.
On Becoming the CM and Future Prospects
On becoming the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Vishnu Deo Sai says, “…With all honesty I will work for ‘Sabka Vishwas’ & the promises made to the people of Chhattisgarh under ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’ will be fulfilled. As a CM of the state, we will try to fulfil the promises. The first work will be to give 18 lakh ‘Awas’ to the people…”
#WATCH | On becoming the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Vishnu Deo Sai says, "…With all honesty I will work for 'Sabka Vishwas' & the promises made to the people of Chhattisgarh under 'Modi Ki Guarantee' will be fulfilled. As a CM of the state, we will try to fulfil the… pic.twitter.com/hYEnV69hkK
— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2023
Vishnu Deo Sai’s resurgence and appointment as Chief Minister mark a significant chapter in Chhattisgarh’s political landscape. As he takes charge, Sai’s leadership will be closely watched for its impact on governance, party dynamics, and the continued representation of tribal interests. The BJP’s strategic selection of Sai reflects a nuanced understanding of regional politics and a commitment to inclusive leadership in the state.