Bhopal, May 4: In November, 2005 in a hall overcrowded with BJP MLAs and resounding with the rebellious roar of former chief minister Uma Bharti, party General Secretary Pramod Mahajan had said in a self-confident tone, ''This is not a subjective decision but one taken by the BJP's parliamentary board.'' That scene is still fresh in the memory of Madhya Pradesh Industry and Commercial Tax Minister Babulal Gaur and several other leaders when the firebrand sadhvi and her supporters protested against the high command's decision to elevate Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan to the chief minister's post.
Mr Mahajan was forthwith sent here and, within a few hours, altered the panorama.
''The hastily-convened meeting's atmosphere was rather tense. Mr Mahajan entered the chamber in measured strides and said he was willing to even witness differences of opinion over the parliamentary board's decision. The situations created after differences of opinion are history,'' said senior MLA and former minister Umashankar Gupta.
Mr Gaur, himself an ex-chief minister, lauded Mr Mahajan as a symbol of self-confidence.
''In the 2003 assembly election, I almost lost my ticket due to Ms Bharti's protest. As a last resort, I placed the matter before Mr Mahajan and assured him that there was no doubt I would obtain a majority from Govindpura. Even the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had almost agreed that I should not be given a ticket,'' he reminisced.
At that juncture, Mr Mahajan argued in Mr Gaur's favour and placed an analysis before the party.
''He loved challenges and believed in last-ditch fighting. He took setbacks as lessons and told his junior colleagues that defeats showed that there must have been some lacuna in the endeavour,'' said Mr Gupta.