oppn parties Uttar Pradesh Elections: BJP Should Name CM Face

News Snippets

  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Uttar Pradesh Elections: BJP Should Name CM Face

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Reports 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.

It shows that despite Amit Shah’s long term planning to win the Uttar Pradesh elections, the party has not found a suitable candidate. This is turn proves that the party’s 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 party’s CM candidate for UP. That did not happen. Yogi Adityanath’s supporters tried to advance his name but nothing came out of it. Names of sons of other leaders like Pankaj Singh (Rajnath Singh’s son), Varun Gandhi (Maneka Gandhi’s son) and Rajveer Singh (Kalyan Singh’s son) were also in the news. Then, home minister Rajnath Singh’s 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 Shah’s strategy in Uttar Pradesh elections revolves around consolidating upper caste and backward caste votes, Maurya’s appointment was seen as a step in that direction. But Maurya’s 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.