Overwhelmed with the mandate received in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the BJP is in a fix on how to appoint a chief minister who balances the development discourse of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the caste and social equations in the state and the ideological expectations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“People as well as the media should expect a complete surprise. The state of UP is so big and the mandate so humongous that it cannot be left just like that,” quoted a senior BJP leader. Throughout Tuesday, the high command , especially party chief Amit Shah, remained busy in discussions with senior functionaries of the state as well as the central organization. Shah, reportedly, also went into a brainstorming session with RSS’ interface with the BJP and Sangh’s joint general secretary, Krishna Gopal.
Party sources said that three names as of now have emerged as the hot favourites, though some members also believe that the name has already been decided and the exercise is being done only to give the process a semblance of widespread consultation. “It is not a coalition government. We have won a landslide victory behind PM Modi and Amit Shah and they are the right people to decide who will lead”. The choice of the chief minister is also expected to make the next cabinet reshuffle, slated for sometime in April, to become complicated.
“If Rajnath Singh leaves for UP, then the crucial post of home minister falls vacant. Even now Arun Jaitley is holding dual portfolios of defence and finance. Singh’s leaving Delhi could mean a fundamental reshaping of the cabinet,” said a senior party leader, who also hinted at party chief Amit Shah finding a place in the cabinet.
Rumours were afloat that the RSs wanted Rajnath Singh as the chief minister, being the “tallest” leader in the state. The home minister will head to Nagpur to meet RSS leadership, sources said.
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