Their gaze confidently on the UP assembly since the Lok Sabha poll sweep, BJP leaders in the state cannot agree on who their chief ministerial candidate will be. Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj, Varun Gandhi, Yogi Adityanath, Kalyan Singh and Rajveer Singh each has countless supporters, who are separately pushing their leader’s case as CM on Facebook. The state votes in 2017.
Varun, an MP, leads the contenders with six Facebook accounts promoting him as chief minister, followed by Shah, in charge of the state, with five accounts. Both are BJP national general secretaries. State general secretary Pankaj Singh has three accounts promoting him while Adityanath, an MP, has two — “Yogi Adityanathji CM for UP” and “Yogi Adityanathji for CM of Purvanchal”. National vice-president Kalyan Singh and his MP son Rajveer have one each.
Most of these accounts have been opened after the election results.
The accounts for Varun and Amit Shah have names that sound similar. Those promoting Varun include “Varun Gandhi for CM of UP”, “Varun Gandhi Next CM of UP 2017”, “Varun Gandhi CM UP”, “Varun Gandhi for CM” and “Varun Gandhi for Uttar Pradesh CM”.
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On Shah’s behalf, “Amit Shah for UP CM” has various news reports published about his role in the poll performance. “Amit Shah for Uttar Pradesh CM 2017” with 531 members is an account credited to Ashwani Mathur, a BJP worker in Delhi. “Next CM of UP Amit Shah” joined Facebook on May 18, two days after the poll results were declared, “Amit Shah next UP CM” on May 19, and “Amit Shah for projected CM of UP” on May 22.
The three accounts projecting Pankaj Singh are more varied in name, one of these being “Pankajsingh Forupcm”. “Pankaj Singh for CM Uttar Pradesh” has photographs of him with Rajnath, while “Uttar Pradesh mission 202+”, created May 27, has slogans such as “Pankaj lao, Pradesh bachao”.
The account “Next CM of Uttar Pradesh — Rajveer Singh ‘Raju Bhaiyya’ “ carries the message “Rajveer Singh is a CM candidate of BJP in UP Vidhan Sabha elections 2017”. The account has photographs of Rajveer with Kalyan Singh. “I am not aware who created the account. I have no connection with it,” Rajveer says. The creator credited is Amit Kumar of Bulandshahr.
Of Adityanath’s accounts, “Yogi Adityanathji CM for UP” was created on June 1 and hasn’t had a “like” yet. “Yogi Adityanathji for CM of Purvanchal” dates back to 2013 but one slogan is new: “2014 vijay ka agaz hai, 2017 vijay ka vishwas hai”.
“Kalyan Singh for Uttar Pradesh CM” has recent photographs of Kalyan with Narendra Modi and Shah.
Kalyan has been chief minister of the state before, having served two terms (1991-92 and 1997-99). Pankaj’s father Rajnath Singh was CM during 2000-02.