The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its spectacular win in Uttar Pradesh and the suspense over who will be the chief minister for India's most populous state has only begun. According to reports, the BJP will make the official announcement on 16 March but speculations are abound and so is the confusion.
On Wednesday, to add to the existing suspense, a BJP leader, who according to a Mail Today report is someone who emerged victorious in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election and is also a prospective chief ministerial candidate, said "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".
While BJP keeps up its suspense act, here are the leaders and candidates who are being considered for the coveted post.
The Union home minister is the most probable candidate, as of now, if media reports are to be believed. The "tallest BJP leader" from the state, Singh relinquished the chief minister's post in March 2002. He moved to national politics to be a Union minister and the national president of the BJP for two terms. As a star campaigner for the BJP in UP, Singh camped in the state for 26 days and addressed 120 public rallies while covering 20,000 kilometres. Singh is known to be a a highly-disciplined organisational man and is known to follow party decisions. The holder of a Masters degree in Physics, he has been associated with the RSS since 1964, which makes him a politician with a strong grassroots connection, reports said.
Keshav Prasad Maurya
Keshav Prasad Maurya, currently a Lok Sabha MP from Phulpur, was born in 1969 in Sirathu in Kausambhi district, adjoining Allahabad. Maurya's political career started out with defeats as he lost two consecutive Assembly elections, 2002 and 2007, but riding on a Modi wave secured the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat in 2014 with a thumping five lakh votes and over 52 percent votes from the erstwhile Nehru-Gandhi bastion.
Relatively younger than his counterparts, at 47 Maurya's full-timer karyakarta background is expected to boost the morale of the BJP-RSS cadre. His RSS background is another reason why he is among the top three choices by the party leadership. Though he keeps a low-profile and is not popular outside the Kausambhi-Allahabad-Varanasi belt, Maurya's pro-Hindutva image and his promotion could be a sign of things to come. He has been associated with the RSS and the VHP-Bajrang Dal from an early age, holding the posts of Nagar Karyawah and VHP Pranth Sanghathan Mantri, among others. While being active in the gauraksha (cow-protection) movements, he also participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In the BJP, Maurya has been the regional (Kashi) coordinator of the backward class cell and the BJP Kisan Morcha.
Maurya faces charges in as many as ten criminal cases. He is also the prime accused in a murder case, he is also booked for promoting enmity between groups, criminal intimidation, deliberate acts of hurting religious sentiment, criminal conspiracy and rioting.
Manoj Sinha is the Minister of State for Communications with Independent Charge. He is also the MoS for Railways. Sinha won the Lok Sabha election from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. He was earlier elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 and 1999. Born in 1959, Sinha was a member of the General Council, School of Planning during 1999-2000. He has also been a Member of Committee on Energy and another Committee on Government Assurances. An agriculturist at heart, Sinha has been actively involved in working in backward villages where his interests primarily lie. His wife Neelam Sinha belongs to Maghara Bihar Sharif in Bihar’s Nalanda district and the couple is blessed with a son and a daughter.
Travelling has been a passion of Sinha and he has widely traveled. Social work also has been his another passion in life. Sinha's political career had an impressive start when he became the president of the Banaras Hindu University Students Union in 1982. He has been a member of BJP national council too from 1989 to 1996. In the2014 elections, he has been elected to Lok Sabha and it's his third term in the national politics. Earlier he was elected to Parliament in the years 1996 and 1999. Sinha has been among the best performing members of Parliament and in the 13th Lok Sabha he was praised for a very high attendance and for asking several questions pertaining to various topics of public interests. Sinha has set a rare example amongst his counterparts when he successfully utilised all the money allotted to him as an MP for public welfare.
He has also been overseeing the high-profile constituency of the prime minister — Varanasi. A strong party worker who prefers to maintain a low profile, he’s immensely popular with the party cadre in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Sinha’s only disadvantage is his caste — Bhumihar, whose numerical strength is limited to some districts in eastern Uttar Pradesh, but then that could turn out to be an advantage because he could be taken as a caste-neutral candidate
Probably the most communal and controversial leader in the state, Yogi Adityanath is the mascot of the party's Hindutva-wrapped agenda of development as the BJP makes a final push in its bid to capture power in the state in the last two phases of elections to be held in 89 seats. Adityanath is the fifth-term Lok Sabha member. He was elected as the Member of the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998 from Gorakhpur constituency. He was the youngest legislator of the Lok Sabha. So far, Adityanath has been MP from the same constituency five times. Every time his margin of victory kept on increasing dramatically due to his popularity and influence among his electorate.
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Adityanath won the elections by a margin of 1, 42,309 votes. Adityanath is quite a popular politician of his constituency. He didn't require Modi wave to cling on too his seat. His original name was Ajay Singh and he changed his name after becoming a sanyasi. He has got a BSc degree from HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand.
Reports have touted him as a very good orator and has the ability to attract eyeballs with his fiery speech. He has been quite vocal in Parliament and has been raising issues with alacrity. It's not that he raises issues related to Hindutva only. Adityanath is the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini. It is a social, cultural and nationalist group of young people. This group is very famous amongst Hindus of east Uttar Pradesh. Hindu Yuva Vahini has many dalit Hindus.
The list of criminal charges against Adityanath is pretty long - Some of the cases where cognisance has been taken are: 3 charges related to rioting (IPC Section-147); 1 charge related to Attempt to murder (IPC Section-307); two charges related to Rioting, armed with deadly weapon (IPC Section-148); 1 charges related to Act endangering life or personal safety of others (IPC Section-336); 1 charges related to Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object (IPC Section-149); 2 charges related to Trespassing on burial places, etc. (IPC Section-297); 1 charges related to criminal intimidation (IPC Section-506).
The national secretary and media convenor of the BJP, Shrikant Sharma emerged as a credible and a powerful ABVP — the student organisation of RSS — voice during his college days. At that time, Delhi University Students’ Union – DUSU – was in the grip of Congress led NSUI. Shrikant Sharma did change the scenario the result of which started to show few years later. Now, all four posts of DUSU is held by ABVP.
Said to be the 'invisible' man behind BJP's UP election battle and right hand of Amit Shah, Bansal is the BJP’s organisational general secretary and was brought into UP from Rajasthan to execute Amit Shah’s poll plans. Bansal operates out of a room on the first floor of the BJP office in Lucknow. He was an activist of the ABVP in Rajasthan before rising up to become its national joint organising secretary. He caught Shah’s eyes and was picked up to work for the 2014 elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Bansal soon shifted to Lucknow and became Shah’s right-hand man. Bansal is reported to have learnt the importance of data compilation for electoral purposes, and slowly picked up the caste intricacies of each district in the state. He learnt the importance of organisational activities from Shah that would keep the party cadre busy and perennially connected with the people. After the 2014 pro-BJP mandate, Shah rose up to become party president. However, keeping an eye on the 2017 elections, he left Bansal back in Lucknow as the state-level general secretary of the organisation. This position is crucial in the BJP sangathan. The fact that Bansal was an outsider, and thus not steeped in the messy caste and faction-ridden landscape of the state unit, was seen as an advantage.
Lucknow's mayor Dinesh Sharma is one of the powerful leader in Uttar Pradesh. Sharma, a national vice president of the party, is said to enjoy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s confidence as well as the backing of the party’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya often visited Sharma’s paternal home on Aishbagh road in Lucknow as he was close to Sharma’s father. Sharma also organised Modi’s massive rally in Lucknow on Dussehra last year. On 21, October 2014, Sharma was appointed Gujarat BJP incharge. There is a strong opinion that ‘upper cast CM’ can give huge benefit to 2019 election because OBCs Kesh Maurya has already made State President by the party.
Published Date: Mar 15, 2017 15:42 PM | Updated Date: Mar 15, 2017 15:42 PM