The clear majority win in sight for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly has boosted speculation over who will be the state’s next chief minister. In the fray are BJP’s state President Keshav Prasad Maurya (pictured left), Lucknow Mayor and BJP National Vice President Dinesh Sharma, Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, and party leader Adityanath.
The BJP had contested the 2017 Assembly polls without a chief ministerial candidate. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was also believed to among those in the rinning to replace current Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party head Akhilesh Yadav.
Top party officials told BBC that either Maurya or Sinha will be appointed chief minister. Sinha, a sitting MP from the Ghazipur Lok Sabha constituency, is believed to be close to Narendra Modi, and also manages the prime minister’s Varanasi constituency. Maurya, however, was closely associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parisha during the movement for a Ram Temple in Ayodhya in the 1990s. During campaigning, he had said that the BJP would build the temple if voted to a majority in the elections.
The post will be filled only after a BJP parliamentary board meet, expected to be held on Sunday. Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi said Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah will make the final decision.
While Rajnath Singh might have been in the running at one point, the Union home minister’s appointment as chief minister at this point in Indian politics seems unlikely.