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Raipur, Dec 11 – Tribal leader and former Union Minister Vishnu Deo Sai is set to take over as the new Chattisgarh Chief Minister after being unanimously chosen as the leader of the state BJP Legislature Party at its meeting here on Sunday.

Soon after his election, the 59–year-old leader vowed to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guarantees given during the Assembly poll campaign. The BJP had named its poll manifesto “Modi ki guarantee” to woo the voters.

At the crucial Legislature Party meeting, BJP stalwart and former state Chief Minister Raman Singh proposed Sai’s name as the leader, which Brijmohan Agrawal and Lata Usendi seconded, sources said.

Among those present at the meeting in the BJP state office were central observers Union ministers Arjun Munda and Sarbananda Sonowal, General Secretary Dushyant Gautam, state in-charge Om Mathur, central minister Mansukh L Mandaviya, and leader Nitin Nabin.

Interacting with the media after his election, the Chief Minister designate thanked the top party leaders including Modi and Amit Shah and said the first item on his government’s agenda would be sanctioning 18 lakh dwellings for the impoverished.

He also promised to take everyone into confidence in carrying out his duties.

“I express my gratitude towards the Prime Minister, Union Home Affairs and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah, BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda, state in-charge Om Mathur, central minister Mansukh L Mandaviya and leader Nitin Nabin for reposing faith in a diminutive worker.

“I will toil with unalloyed honesty while taking everyone into confidence. The first item on my agenda is to sanction 18 lakh dwellings for the impoverished,” said Sai, who would represent Jashpur district’s Kunkuri in the new House.

After a five-year interregnum, the saffron camp has surged back to power in this tribal-dominated state by winning 54 of the total 90 Assembly constituencies. The Congress, ruling since 2018, could manage only 35 seats, while the Gondwana Ganatantra Party won from one constituency.

Chhattisgarh – which came into existence in November 2000 after being carved out of Madhya Pradesh – will have the 59-year-old Sai as the second BJP chief minister after Raman Singh who was in the saddle from 2003 to 2018.

In 2014, Sai served as Minister of State in the Centre’s Narendra Modi dispensation. He is a three-time parliamentarian. In 1990, he was first elected to undivided Madhya Pradesh’s Vidhan Sabha from Tapkara.

Sai was born on February 21, 1964, in a cultivator’s household at Jashpur district’s Bagiya village. He studied until the tenth standard at the Loyola Higher Secondary School in Kunkuri.

He commenced his political career in 1989 as a Panch in the Bagiya Village Panchayat. Sai is believed to be the choice of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and also Raman Singh. In 2006 and 2020, he was elevated as BJP state President. He is a special invitee to the party’s National Working Committee.