Vishnu Deo Sai, a four-time MP from Raigarh, served as a Union Minister of State in the Modi government and is a close associate of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Vishnu Deo Sai, a tribal leader and former Union Minister, has been sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh on Monday. He succeeded Bhupesh Baghel, who resigned after leading the Congress to a crushing defeat in the assembly polls. Here are 10 key points about the man who will lead the state for the next five years:
1. He is the first tribal CM of Chhattisgarh
Vishnu Deo Sai belongs to the Oraon tribe, which constitutes about 12% of the state’s population. He is the first tribal leader to become the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, which was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000. He is also the second tribal CM in the country after Hemant Soren of Jharkhand.
2. He is a four-time MP from Raigarh
Vishnu Deo Sai represented the Raigarh Lok Sabha constituency for four consecutive terms from 1999 to 2019. He defeated former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi in 1999 and his son Amit Jogi in 2014. He lost to Congress candidate Gomtee Sai in 2019 by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes.
3. He was a Union Minister of State in Modi government
Vishnu Deo Sai was appointed as the Minister of State for Steel in the first Modi government in 2014. He also held the portfolios of Mines and Labour & Employment for brief periods. He was instrumental in implementing several reforms and initiatives in the steel sector, such as the National Steel Policy, the Steel Scrap Policy, and the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana.
Also Read: Who Is Vishnu Deo Sai? New Chief Minister Of BJP in Chhattisgarh: 10 things to know
4. He is a three-time MLA from Kunkuri
Vishnu Deo Sai won the Kunkuri assembly seat in the 2023 elections by defeating Congress candidate U.D. Minj by over 25,000 votes. He had earlier won the same seat in 1990 and 1993, when it was part of Madhya Pradesh. He also served as the Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh assembly from 1996 to 1998.
5. He is a close aide of Amit Shah
Vishnu Deo Sai is considered to be a loyalist of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had promised to make him a ‘big man’ during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. Shah had also appointed him as the state BJP president in 2020, replacing Vikram Usendi. Sai had earlier served as the state BJP chief from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2014.
6. He is a farmer by profession
Vishnu Deo Sai hails from a farmer’s family in Bagia village of Jashpur district. He did his higher secondary schooling in Loyola Higher Secondary School at Kunkuri. He is married to Kaushalya Devi and has a son and two daughters. He owns agricultural land and a house in his native village.
7. He started his political career as a sarpanch
Vishnu Deo Sai’s political career began when he was elected unopposed as the sarpanch of Bagia village in 1988. He joined the BJP in 1989 and became a member of the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1990. He rose through the ranks of the party and became a national executive member in 2004.
8. He is known for his simplicity and accessibility
Vishnu Deo Sai is known for his simple and humble lifestyle. He travels by public transport and stays in modest accommodation. He is also accessible to the people and listens to their grievances. He is popular among the tribal and rural voters for his pro-poor and pro-farmer policies.
9. He is a champion of tribal rights and culture
Vishnu Deo Sai is a vocal advocate of tribal rights and culture. He has raised issues such as land acquisition, forest rights, displacement, and reservation in the Parliament and the state assembly. He has also promoted tribal art, literature, and festivals. He is fluent in Hindi, English, and Oraon languages.
10. He faces several challenges ahead
Vishnu Deo Sai faces several challenges as the new Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. He has to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 14,000 lives in the state. He has to revive the economy, which has been hit by the lockdowns and slowdowns. He has to tackle the Naxal menace, which has claimed over 2,000 lives in the last two decades. He has to balance the interests of various caste and community groups, which have been polarized by the previous regime. He has to deliver on the promises made by the BJP in its manifesto, such as providing jobs, electricity, water, and health care to the people. He has to also maintain the unity and discipline of the BJP, which has 54 MLAs in the 90-member assembly.
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