oppn parties Uttar Pradesh Elections: BJP Should Name CM Face

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  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
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Uttar Pradesh Elections: BJP Should Name CM Face

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-10-18 08:31:30

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.