New Delhi/Lucknow: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah is likely to hold consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) tonight, to finalise the name of the next Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
According to a report in NDTV, Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha is emerging as the top contender for the job.
Sinha had earlier today said he was not in the race for UP’s top job, but is seen to be the most acceptable face, said the report.
Tomorrow, the party’s 312 legislators will formally elect the Legislature Party leader for UP, who would be the CM pick.
A grand show of strength is also planned on Sunday at the oath taking ceremony, with Modi, Shah and other senior BJP leaders attending.
The event will be held at the sprawling Smriti Upvan complex near the Ambedkar memorial in Lucknow.
Though BJP UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya has said that the decision on CM post would be taken by 4 pm tomorrow, Amit Shah on Thursday said Maurya as the state president would make the choice. Maurya, who is himself a top contender, will be hard pressed to choose himself.
Modi and Amit Shah, said NDTV, want someone who will be acceptable to all the different social groups and communities that have voted for the BJP, so that the party can retain their loyalty. They also want a proven administrator who can tackle UP's never-ending law and order problem and further Modi's development agenda in the country's most populous state.
An MTech from Benares Hindu University, Manoj Sinha is recognised for a strong ability to connect with masses, especially at the rural level. He belongs to the Bhumihar Brahmin caste and is considered a firm administrator, said the report. His only ‘drawback’ may be that he is not a backward caste leader.
Maurya ticks the box that Sinha doesn’t – he comes from the Most Backward Caste (MBC) category, and played an important role in BJP’s win in UP. But the UP chief has many cases pending against him, and picking him as CM might jeopardize BJP’s narrative of fighting against corruption.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has been CM of UP in the past, is also in contention for the post.
The BJP has already formed governments in Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, the last two by cobbling together a majority through alliances, in spite of winning less seats than the Congress. Elections to 5 states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab.