Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday deflected a question about the BJP’s plan to project him as its chief ministerial candidate in next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh saying there was no dearth of deserving leaders in the party.
“In any case, this is a hypothetical question. The party has several capable leaders who can fit the bill,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of an event at Charbagh Railway Station in the state capital.
Singh’s comment comes amid reports that he might be given a “key role” in the BJP’s campaign for the crucial Uttar Pradesh polls although the party has not spelt out its plans to project anyone as its CM candidate.
Posters put up by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of its party leaders in the state show Singh, who was the BJP chief minister from October 2000 to March 2002 when the saffron party was at the helm in UP, prominently – an indication perhaps of the role he would play in the poll campaign.
Speculations over the party’s decision about its probable chief ministerial nominee have gained momentum in the wake of BJP’s national executive committee meeting scheduled to take place in Allahabad on June 12. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would also be present on the occasion.
State BJP chief Keshav Maurya tried to play down the issue saying that the party’s face in the UP polls would be its symbol. “People will vote for ‘Kamal’ (Lotus),” he said referring to the official party symbol.
Singh has attended multiple rallies both alone and along with Modi and party chief Amit Shah, as well as independently, like his public meeting in Mau on Thursday.
Sources in the state BJP are of the view that Singh would play a lead role in the campaign even if he is not projected as the CM candidate by the party.
By projecting a Thakur (Singh), the party may alienate Brahmins and hence the dilemma within the BJP continues, feel observers.
Ever since it scored a victory in Assam by projecting Sarbananda Sonowal as its CM candidate, a debate has been going on within the BJP whether it should adopt a similar strategy for UP as well.
The Bihar debacle where the party did not project anyone as the CM candidate is being given as an example by those in favour of party declaring its nominee ahead of the UP polls.
Speculation is also rife that Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani, party MPs Varun Gandhi and Yogi Adityanath could be named as BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for state elections.
The state has an assembly comprising 403 seats and a party/alliance has to win 202 seats to form the government.