Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led BJP to achieve the historic mandate in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017. Now, Union Minister Manoj Sinha has emerged as the strongest possible face for the Chief Ministerial post even as BJP is facing dilemma over choosing the right person for the top job from multiple set of contenders. Sinha, an upper caste Bhumihar, has considerable administrative experience. 57-year-old Sinha an MP from Ghazipur in Poorvanchal. With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP is making sure the Chief Minister that it selects must please every sections. With speculation rife over the BJP’s chief ministerial pick for Uttar Pradesh, party chief Amit Shah yesterday had left everyone guessing with his remark that he has given the responsibility of choosing the CM to state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Earlier, Sinha had ruled himself out for the post. “I am not in the race,” he had said at an election rally.
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Maurya, who is himself seen as one of the probables, then told reporters that how can he choose himself, when asked if he is a contender for the post. Shah was asked by reporters following the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting about the chief ministerial nominee for the state. “I have left the responsibility to Keshav (to choose the CM),” he said while leaving.
Newly elected BJP MLAs in UP will meet on March 18 and are likely to elect their legislature party leader. “Party’s central observers – Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav – will be present at the meeting on Saturday at 5 PM,” BJP’s general secretary in UP, where the party won a three-fourth majority, Vijay Bahadur Pathak told PTI in Lucknow.
Asked specifically as to whether there was any likelihood of an election for the post of the leader of the Legislature Party, Pathak avoided a direct reply, saying, “I can’t say.”
The names of probables for the top post doing the rounds in political circles include Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Singh, a former UP chief minister, is probably the tallest BJP leader in the state. Maurya, who had helped consolidate non-Yadav OBC votes in the party’s favour, is said to be in the good books of BJP chief Amit Shah. Another probable is Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, who has strong links with RSS.
(With agency inputs)