Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is the front runner for the Uttar Pradesh chief minister post. Following the appointment of Manohar Parrikar as the Goa CM, chances of Rajnath being sent to steer Uttar Pradesh have increased tremendously. For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who now claims himself to be the adopted son of UP, India’s largest state is a prize he can’t afford to lose at any cost.
In the recently concluded Assembly elections in UP, residents of the state broke the barriers of caste, class and religion to vote en masse for the saffron party. Such was the support for BJP, that it managed to single-handedly win 312 seats and 325 out of 400 along with a few small allies. The massive victory, as Modi himself acknowledged, has increased BJP’s responsibility towards the people of the state.
During the campaign, BJP made several promises to the electorates. The biggest of them was to break free from the “misrule” of previous Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party governments. It seems, the voters bought BJP and PM Modi’s promises wholesale. It is now the time for the BJP to perform.
To realise those promises, the party first needs to appoint a chief minister who has a proven track record of performance. Among all the prominent names doing the round for the top post in the state, only Rajnath Singh has the experience of running the state administration. As the Home Minister of India, Singh’s track record has been commendable and he enjoys the confidence not only of the BJP and RSS top brass but also of the people of the state because of his non-controversial political career so far.
After allowing Parrikar to take over as the Goa CM, there appears to be no reason why PM Modi won’t send Singh to UP. One may claim that the PM would not like to lose two of his senior most Cabinet colleagues so soon. However, considering the way Modi government has been functioning since 2014, finding an able replacement after Singh in the Home ministry won’t be difficult. Modi government has been working as a close-knit team supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Moreover, there are several other leaders in the saffron camp who needs to be tested for their leadership acumen. If PM Modi wishes to not let BJP’s rule ever end in the country, he would have to felicitate the emergence of a second line of leadership in the party. He can’t afford to be like Congress, where all power was apparently vested in one family.
Running Uttar Pradesh will also be beneficial for Singh’s political future. If done properly, Singh would be able to become the third most powerful leader in BJP after Modi and party president Amit Shah.