Keshav Maurya, Manoj Sinha: Who Will BJP Pick for UP CM's Post?
Barely two hours after counting began, the writing was on the wall – a saffron tsunami was sweeping Uttar Pradesh. By noon, the BJP looked to cross 300 seats. With victory in UP now certain, the BJP will look to government formation.
BJP workers and supporters celebrating the UP Assembly Election result 2017 in Lucknow on March 11, 2017.
New Delhi: Barely two hours after counting began, the writing was on the wall – a saffron tsunami was sweeping Uttar Pradesh. By noon, the BJP looked to cross 300 seats. With victory in UP now certain, the BJP will look to government formation. BJP continued its trend of going into an election without a Chief Ministerial face. News18 looks at possible contenders who could get the top job in UP, replacing outgoing CM Akhilesh Yadav.
Keshav Prasad Maurya
UP BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya is like Prime Minister Narendra Modi in more ways than one. A dedicated RSS worker who rose through ranks, sold tea at his father’s tea stall as a child and hails from an OBC background. At just 47, Maurya has emerged as one of the tallest leaders in the UP BJP in a short amount of time. He contested the UP Assembly polls three times – 2002, 2007 and 2012 – before being elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 from the Phulpur constituency, a seat once represented by Jawaharlal Nehru. In April last year, he was appointed as UP BJP president. Maurya’s OBC status works in his favour as the party could gain by elevating him to the CM’s post. He could also find favor with the Sangh Parivar owing to his background as a ground-level RSS worker. Much of the credit for BJP’s sweep in UP, less than a year after his elevation as UP BJP chief, goes to Maurya as well. What works against Maurya is his criminal record. In his 2014 election affidavit, Maurya had declared that he had 11 criminal cases against him. Since maintenance of law and order was the BJP’s main electoral promise, Maurya’s appointment as CM could raise questions.
Ghazipur MP and Union telecom minister Manoj Sinha is among those in the running for the top job in UP. Sinha’s no-nonsense, work-oriented image makes him one of the top contenders for the CM’s post. He will, however, have to battle it out with other leaders with a wider, pan-UP approach. Sinha’s popularity is said to be confined to parts of eastern UP. He belongs to the Bhumihar community, which is dominant only in select regions of Poorvanchal.
Veteran BJP leader Kalraj Mishra joined the RSS at the young age of 14. The Deoria MP and Union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises is a three-time Rajya Sabha MP. He was also a UP cabinet minister from 1997 to 2000, during Rajnath Singh’s tenure as CM. Mishra, a Brahmin, may find support from the Sangh due to his history in the RSS. Working against him is his age. At 75, Mishra is the oldest minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet.
Union Minister for culture and tourism Mahesh Sharma was born in Rajasthan but found his political roots in UP. In 2012, he won the UP Assembly polls from the Noida Assembly constituency. In 2014, he became Noida’s Lok Sabha MP. In a short time, Sharma’s clout in the party has grown exponentially. However, his image of being a motor mouth, who makes controversial remarks, could hurt his chances. He has reportedly been rebuked by the party on numerous occasions for his off the cuff statements.
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