Uttar Pradesh election 2017: Here’s why Rajnath Singh can be BJP’s Chief Minister candidate

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New Delhi | Updated: January 4, 2017 10:40:39 AM

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not yet disclosed its chief minister face for Uttar Pradesh Assembly election 2017.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not yet disclosed its chief minister face for Uttar Pradesh Assembly election 2017. Like Maharashtra and Haryana, the party will go to the election without a pre-declared CM candidate and try to bank upon the works done by Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reason: BJP state unit doesn’t have a mass leader who can stand up to BSP’s Mayawati or SP’s Akhilesh Yadav.

There have been speculations around the names of Central ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani and BJP’s Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath. Yogi’s supporters have even organised protests in Gorakhpur, demanding the declaration of the name of their MP as the party’s CM candidate in the state.

However, the saffron party has so far played all cards close to its chest. But then, considering BJP president Amit Shah’s style of working, some inferences and predictions can always be made. The BJP tend not to declare a CM candidate before a state poll unless it has a mass leader like Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh or Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh.

Watch Rajnath Singh’s speech at Lucknow Pariwartan Rally

Secondly, the party generally declares a CM candidate when it is almost certain of winning the election. Like it did in Assam where the possibility of a BJP victory become almost certain when Congress’ heavyweight leader Himanta Biswa Sarma shifted loyalty to Shah’s party.

In case the BJP manages to form a government, there is only one UP face in the party who could be equally trusted by all sections of people in the state. While Adityanath is seen as a communal figure and Irani as an outsider, only Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s name would inspire faith and confidence among all communities of the state.

With eyes on 2019 general Election, both Shah and Modi would like to prefer Singh over others in the state as the latter is not only a former CM of the state but also a national-level leader free of petty controversies. Addressing a mega ‘Parvivartan Rally’ in Lucknow on Monday, PM Modi had also heaped praise on Singh.

However, on Tuesday, Singh skirted queries on whether he could be BJP’s CM candidate in the state. PTI reported, Singh didn’t reply in the affirmative or negative but remarked, “Do I not look good here in the Centre to you.”

Watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Lucknow Pariwartan Rally

Despite the ongoing feud for power in SP family and Mayawati’s apparent loss of appeal following demonetisation, the political situation in UP is still fluid. Four months are still left for the election and one cannot yet predict what would sway voters in the end. There is a possibility of a Congress-SP alliance if CM Akhilesh Yadav manages to formalise the split in his father Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party in the nex few days. The alliance, if formed, would undoubtedly be a force to reckon with.

The BJP would closely watch any possible Congress-SP alliance but it would continue to pin its hopes on PM Modi’s charisma and works against Black money. The success of Union government’s digital payment push and newly-launched ‘BHIM App’ could also be defining factors that may propel BJP to power.

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