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From Keshav Maurya to Yogi Adityanath: List of Probable CM Faces For BJP in UP

Kalraj Mishra, on the other hand, has legislative and executive experience both in Lucknow and Delhi. The Brahmin leader from Deoria is currently the only above-75 minister in the Union council.

Sumit Pande | CNN-News18

Updated:March 11, 2017, 12:31 PM IST
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From Keshav Maurya to Yogi Adityanath: List of Probable CM Faces For BJP in UP
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New Delhi: Not naming a Chief Ministerial candidate has its own advantages. Ambiguity at the top keeps all contenders and their supporters interested.

Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha in a recent interview just before the last phase in fact did indicate how this has helped party in the UP Election.

This despite the fact that BJP as a party has been a firm believer in giving a tangible face to its election campaigns. The tradition started with Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s projection in 1996. And there have been occasions when the party has impressed upon its allies to project a CM candidate in states where the BJP is the junior partner.

If exit poll results in UP are to hold, BJP may soon be presented with the task of naming it's CM for UP.

In the last six months and in the run up to the elections, many names have come up of discussion. Union home minister Rajnath Singh is certainly not inclined to return to Lucknow.

In that case if a first time CM has to be chosen then two issues would weigh heavy on the selection process: social composition of castes who have voted for the BJP and 2019 general elections.

BJP this election has worked on non-Yadav OBC and upper caste mobilisation. If this combination is successful in bringing BJP back to power in UP, then the CM could be from either of the communities.

Two names from the OBC category in the reckoning would be State President Keshav Maurya and Mos Finance and Baraily MP Santosh Gangwar. Maurya comes from the VHP stock and is an MBC. UP has never in the past had a MBC chief minister. If chosen, UP would again have a CM from Poorvanchal after many years.

Gangwar on the other hand is the veteran BJP MP since 1989. He's lost only one election in 2009. Soft spoken, Gangwar is a Kurmi. The community has traditionally voted for the BJP in the Rohelkhand region.

Of the upper caste contenders, union culture minister Mahesh Sharma is one such name. The doctor from Noida is close to the Sangh but has on occasions created unnecessary controversies by shooting his mouth off.

Telecom Minister and Ghazipur MP Manoj Sinha is another names doing the rounds. A graduate of Banaras Hindu University, Sinha comes from the numerically less dominant Bhumihar community. When dominant communities slug it out, Caste neutrality at times is an asset in identity politics.

Of the remaining state leaders, Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra are the only ones apart from Rajnath and Maurya whose pictures dotted the hoardings put up by the party across the state.

Bharti, the mercurial sanyasin and the former Madhya Pradesh CM has had to shift base to Uttar Pradesh after a protracted tussle with current MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Her heart, they say, is still in Madhya Pradesh.

Kalraj Mishra, on the other hand, has legislative and executive experience both in Lucknow and Delhi. The Brahmin leader from Deoria is currently the only above-75 minister in the Union council.

And last but not the least is the fiery Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath. The head of the Gorakhnath Temple was also considered as the CM face. A section of the local RSS leadership backed the move. But caste configurations, especially in eastern UP, forced the BJP to abandon the idea and instead approach the elections under a collective state leadership.

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| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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