Elected as a Member of Parliament for the first time in 1989 and brought back into the Union Cabinet after 15 years in 2019, Prahlad Patel now faces a new political challenge – fighting the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls from Narsinghpur – amid speculation that he may be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the state.
One of seven MPs, and three Union Ministers, who will be contesting the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, 63-year-old Prahlad Patel began his political journey by fighting and winning the Lok Sabha elections from Madhya Pradesh in 1989. He won again in 1996 and 1999 and a pivotal moment in Mr Patel’s career came when, during a cabinet reshuffle under then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he was made the minister of state for coal in 2003.
Mr Patel held the position for a year, until the National Democratic Alliance was voted out and the United Progressive Alliance won in 2004. The BJP leader contested the Lok Sabha elections from Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh in 2014 and won again from there in 2019.
Back In Cabinet
It was after the second victory from Damoh that the five-time MP earned a call-up from Narendra Modi in 2019 and was appointed the minister of state (independent charge) for culture and tourism. He is currently the minister of state for food processing and Jal Shakti.
Known for bringing in a private bill in Parliament for banning cow slaughter in 2000, Mr Patel will now contest the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, scheduled to be held on Friday, from his home constituency of Narsinghpur.
Mr Patel, two other Union ministers, and four other MPs are contesting the Assembly polls at a time when the BJP has not declared its longest-serving chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as the candidate for the state’s top job. This has given rise to speculation that one of these seven, including Narendra Singh Tomar and Kailash Vijayvargiya, could be the chief minister if the BJP manages to win in the state this time.
The BJP had been in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003 but lost to the Congress in 2018. The Congress government led by Kamal Nath, however, lasted only for about 15 months and had to make way for the BJP again after senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia rebelled and joined the opposition party with over 20 MLAs.