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Manoj Sinha, Tipped to be Next Uttar Pradesh CM, is a Man Without Enemies

India to have 600 mn broadband connections by 2020: Minister (photo for representation, image: News18)

India to have 600 mn broadband connections by 2020: Minister (photo for representation, image: News18)

Union MInister Manoj Sinha is the frontunner for the post of Uttar Pradesh CM.

New Delhi: In 2014, a local BJP worker in Ghazipur opened a dhaba on the outskirts of the city. He invited Manoj Sinha, the local MP, to inaugurate the dhaba but did not expect him to turn up. Sinha was, after all, a Union Minister by this point. To the worker’s surprise, Sinha made it for the inauguration. This “connect” with his constituents is not uncharacteristic of Sinha. At least till late last year, he spent most weekends in his native Ghazipur. However, the weekends are not spent lazing with family but holding darbars with people from all over the district. Every Saturday and Sunday, over a hundred people gather at his Ghazipur residence with their complaints and Sinha gives them all a patient hearing, even offering tea to all. The Ghazipur MP, who has never fought a Vidhan Sabha election, is now the frontrunner for the post of UP Chief Minister.

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On March 11, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) created history by winning its biggest mandate in UP ever. Repeating its model from Maharashtra and Haryana, the BJP decided not to declare a CM candidate for the UP polls. A decision will now be made after the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting on Saturday.

While UP BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya has been ruled out, the names doing the rounds now are Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Manoj Sinha. BJP sources say that Sinha is a front runner because he is an ‘Ajatshatru’ – a man without enemies. “He (Sinha) is friendly with all factions in the BJP. Above all, he enjoys the confidence of both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. BJP wants to avoid any sign of internal infighting. In such a scenario, they will want someone who is acceptable to all sides. He is close to Modi on one hand, and Rajnath Singh on the other. He is not overly ambitious so he can never be threat to Modi,” a close aide of the minister told News18.

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Sinha cut his teeth in politics as a student leader. In 1982, at the age of 23, he became the president of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). However, it wasn’t until 1998 that he got his big break and was elected to the Lok Sabha. He was elected again in 1999 and after a long hiatus, returned to the Parliament in 2014. The PM showed his faith in Sinha by appointing him to the cabinet. During the 2017 Assembly campaign, he was one of the few star campaigners allotted a helicopter to himself.

Modi’s trust in Sinha comes from his “Mr Clean” image. He is believed to be a no-nonsense, work-oriented minister. Sources close to Sinha said that during his time as Minister of State (MoS) Railways, he often “picked up the slack” when Cabinet Minister Suresh Prabhu dropped the ball. “Suresh Prabhu confined himself to bringing in new technology while Sinha was largely looking after the day-to-day affairs. He impressed Modi during his time in railways and that is why he was given independent charge of Telecom Ministry after the Cabinet reshuffle,” a source said.