Uttar Pradesh Elections: BJP Should Name CM FaceReports coming out of the BJP war room for the Uttar Pradesh elections suggest that the party is likely to head for the state polls without naming a face for the top job. In a state riven by religious, caste and sub-caste identities, this might be a huge gamble. The party had suffered in Delhi and Bihar for this reason in the past. The Delhi experiment of belatedly foisting a hastily drafted outsider celebrity had not worked. In Bihar, with no one projected to take on Nitish, the party suffered badly. In the absence of a projected CM face, the battle becomes the opposition CM face versus Narendra Modi which is extremely detrimental to the BJP in case of a loss. Hence, the UP decision is baffling.
By Sunil Garodia
It shows that despite Amit Shahs long term planning to win the Uttar Pradesh elections, the party has not found a suitable candidate. This is turn proves that the partys cupboard is bare it faces a serious lack of top candidates. Two names did the round some time back. First, when Smriti Irani was shifted from the HRD ministry, the buzz was that she would be named as the partys CM candidate for UP. That did not happen. Yogi Adityanaths supporters tried to advance his name but nothing came out of it. Names of sons of other leaders like Pankaj Singh (Rajnath Singhs son), Varun Gandhi (Maneka Gandhis son) and Rajveer Singh (Kalyan Singhs son) were also in the news. Then, home minister Rajnath Singhs name was bandied about for some time before Uri and the surgical strikes happened. Now no one talks about shifting him from a post that will need a strong man at the helm in the days to come.
In UP, the party has already appointed Keshav Prasad Maurya as its state unit chief. Eyebrows were raised then, as Maurya, apart from his backward class credentials, is a relative light weight. But since Amit Shahs strategy in Uttar Pradesh elections revolves around consolidating upper caste and backward caste votes, Mauryas appointment was seen as a step in that direction. But Mauryas elevation triggered protests in the state unit with more than a dozen state leaders being expelled for attacking him. Being a core RSS man, his appointment was also seen as being engineered by the outfit.
The party has 14 vice-presidents, 8 general secretaries and 15 state secretaries in the state organization. But none of them are known outside their spheres of influence. None of them are CM material. The party is in a dilemma. It has no charismatic candidate who can inspire confidence throughout the state. The ones that can are needed at the Centre. It is being reported that Amit Shah and the RSS are holding talks and a survey might be conducted to assess the need for naming a candidate. Once that is decided, the party will get down to select one. Despite limited choices, the party would do well to name a candidate and run the campaign around him or her.