Even as the office bearers of the BJP meet to endorse the draft resolutions of the National Executive, what’s being talked outside the room is the chief ministerial candidate for the party in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.
Media persons who have come down to cover the two day conclave being held near the Trivenj Sangam, the volunteers and the local leaders are busy speculating who would lead the BJP campaign in the politically crucial state where BJP has been out of power for 14 years.
Officially, local leaders will repeat the party’s public stand- that the Parliamentary Board will take the decision on the CM candidate. But unofficially each and everyone has their clear view on the matter.
“Since the party has already announced a state chief who belongs to the backward caste, there should be an upper caste as a CM candidate. If they did not want to announce one, the party should have retained the status quo in the organisation too,” said a party leader from Allahabad who belongs to the forward castes.
“It will not be good if we don’t have a CM candidate,” said another leader.
One leader from an OBC community differs: “The BJP cannot win the state with upper caste votes. The majority of the forward caste communities are with the BJP. What the party should do is to get more non Yadav OBC communities and non Jatav Dalits.”
While a section of the leadership is keen to project Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the post, the former UP CM , a Thakur leader, does not seem to be willing. A leader close to Singh felt that it was a campaign by his rivals because according to him the BJP’s victory is still not assured in the state. He said “some camps” are spreading the rumour to make Singh a scapegoat. “Those who triggered this rumour just want to sideline him,” said a senior leader of the party.
While reports of his candidacy are speculation, there is a fresh rumour that while he will not be the CM candidate, he could certainly lead the party’s campaign. Another idea doing the rounds is that the BJP leadership would conduct a poll to find out who is the most popular among the leaders.
Meanwhile, the party leaders are holding serious discussions on the BJP’s strategy for the polls – whether it should project a CM candidate is one issue to be discussed. The conclave, with an eye on Mission 265 plus in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly will adopt a resolution on organisation, a rare move, apart from the political and economic resolutions.
The party’s foot soldiers in Allahabad are upbeat as they hope the mood and the atmosphere created for the National Executive – the entire city is dotted with posters banners of BJP leaders and saffron flags – would give a fillip to their preparation for the elections. The party doesn’t have a single seat in the current assembly from Allahabad district.
“The preparations for this meeting for the last 15 days, has given a lot of energy and inspiration to party workers. It has lifted the mood. Also it’s an opportunity to project the government’s achievements in the last two years too,” said Yogesh Shukla, BJP leader from Allahabad said.