Inside Track: Amit Shah’s choice

Amit Shah put a spoke in Manoj Sinha’s candidature at the last minute by warning there were murmurs against Sinha from a section of the party.

Written by Coomi Kapoor | Published:March 26, 2017 1:33 am
BJP, BJP in UP, yogi adityanath, adityanath, UP chief minister, upper caste ministers, Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, india news Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah at UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s oath taking ceremony(Express Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was given all the credit for the BJP’s victory in UP, until Yogi Adityanath was made Chief Minister. Suddenly, a section of the party began hailing the Yogi for the victory and raising the slogan “Har Har Yogi’’. Some even spoke of him as a future PM. So why would Modi, known to prefer low-key, mild, relatively unknown faces for chief minister, opt for a man who could eventually turn out to be a potential rival? Modi had, in fact, backed Manoj Sinha, his business-like Minister of State for Telecom, for the chief minister’s post. Modi had even conveyed the news to Sinha. Which is why Sinha flew to Varanasi to offer prayers at two key temples. But Amit Shah put a spoke in Sinha’s candidature at the last minute by warning there were murmurs against Sinha from a section of the party. There was a parallel move to install Rajnath Singh as CM. To avoid having to choose between Singh and Sinha, the wily Shah suggested Yogi’s name as the best compromise candidate. Though Adityanath was neither Modi’s nor the RSS’s first choice, they bought the argument that he could be the best bet for winning the 2019 elections, since he was capable of taking tough decisions.

Left leaderless

Rahul Gandhi was in the US to bring back Sonia Gandhi, who was hospitalised. The Congress as a consequence was leaderless, with party MPs not given any clear instructions, allowing the Modi government to transact its business in Parliament very smoothly last week. In 2011, when Sonia had gone abroad for medical treatment, a committee of senior Congresspersons had been set up to take decisions in her absence. But no committee was constituted this time.

Dark horse prez?

After the bombshell announcement of Yogi Adityanath as UP CM, political observers feel another shock may be in the offing when the BJP names its presidential candidate. The party believes it has enough votes to get its nominee elected on its own. A popular name making the rounds is Sumitra Mahajan, the Lok Sabha Speaker. Other conventional choices are Ram Naik, Sushma Swaraj and M Venkaiah Naidu. However, many partypersons believe PM Modi may eventually opt for a dark horse, who would break new ground. Fitting this category is Draupadi Murmu, who has the advantage of being both a tribal and a woman. No tribal has been appointed president of India. Murmu, a Santhal from Odisha, is a three- time MLA and one-time state minister who is currently governor of Jharkhand. Another in the category of relative unknowns who could be picked as a symbolic gesture is Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Minister for Social Justice, a Scheduled Caste MP from Madhya Pradesh.

His own man

A section of the Congress is annoyed with Shashi Tharoor, the suave but controversial MP. Some people have started a signature campaign that in 2019 Tharoor should be projected as the Congress’s prime ministerial candidate. While Tharoor has kept a discreet distance from the ‘Induct Tharoor’ campaign, he recently wrote an article suggesting that the country revert to the presidential system of government. This is not the official view of the Congress, particularly when the BJP is riding high at the moment with a series of electoral wins and has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha. But in some respects, Tharoor has always been a law unto himself in the party.

Still together

Akhilesh Yadav as outgoing CM had per force to be present on the dais at the swearing-in of Yogi Adityanath, but there was comment at Mulayam Singh’s presence, when the Congress and BSP boycotted the event. Contrary to the impression during the campaign that there is a rift between the father and son, Mulayam appeared on friendly terms with Akhilesh and even called him to his side to greet the PM. Mulayam, a veteran in UP politics, provided a running commentary on the backgrounds of many of the newly sworn-in ministers.

For What?

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh came up to Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament and congratulated him. “For what?’’ was Singh’s cryptic counter. Singh is clearly unhappy about Amit Shah’s manoeuvring in UP. Particularly at the fact that his son Pankaj Singh, who had a thumping victory in Noida in the Assembly elections, was not made a minister, unlike the offspring of other senior BJP leaders.

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  1. P
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:17 am
    Rajnath singh can't give party even 10 MLAs on his own(means without Modi campaign),,,still he is HM ,,,now he wants his son a ministerial berth,,,,how insane and shameless one can be!!!!
    1. P
      Mar 26, 2017 at 6:24 am
      We in UP have seen Yogi's talent in 2012,,,when party failed to win even 50 MLA seats,,,,he is himself a 5 times MP but failed to turnaround the Party's fortune's in past,,,,,Today if he bcm CM it is only due to modis grace and modis personal Charisma in UP,,,,I know one young Yadav from gazipur in UP who voted for BJP(his father voted for SP),,,,he voted for BJP in hope that BJP will end interviews and corruption in cl 3 nd 4 jobs in state govt
      1. S
        Mar 26, 2017 at 6:53 am
        How did you ume- coomi kappor is coming straight from inside of Rajnath Singh's brain ?😀lt;br/gt;This is so funnylt;br/gt;My advise to people- please take these comments with a pinch of;br/gt;This is mean't to be considered political commentary based on speculationslt;br/gt;It's not and can't be factual;br/gt;Rajnath Singh is a mature politician. His son has just become a first time MLA. Why would he expect to become a;br/gt;Thankfully BJP is a stranger to sycophancy -unlike the INC.
        1. S
          Mar 26, 2017 at 5:49 am
          1. K
            K SHESHU
            Mar 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm
            May be such stories cannot come without a smoke
            1. J
              Mar 26, 2017 at 3:20 am
              I meant we do not need to compound the issue by encouraging it in the politics of the state.
              1. C
                commie defiled
                Mar 26, 2017 at 8:22 am
                And blabber boy 'CAPSLOCK SUBBU' as editor of I.E. ?
                1. H
                  Mar 26, 2017 at 11:05 am
                  Coomi Kapoor,were did u get all this information.
                  1. T
                    Mar 26, 2017 at 2:43 am
                    Poor Raj.nath and his prince don't know that B J P doesn't believe in "Dynastic Politics".....right now only "WILY" politics is at play !
                    1. I
                      Mar 27, 2017 at 12:29 am
                      The BJP should continue its tradition of appointing people of low educational or personal attainments to high office. I'd be surprised if old guard BJP men such as LK Advani are nominated for President. It is the age of the stupid now. Modi's vision for a developed India will never be carried through by the m of the moronic BJP cadres. For heaven's don't nominate s for the Presidency.
                      1. G
                        George Cruz
                        Mar 26, 2017 at 1:06 am
                        This article by Coomi Kapoor is trying to create a rift between the PM Moid and newly elected CM of UP Yogi Adityanath. The truth is that India has great BJP leader Modi and the UP got another BJP leader to provide good governance.
                        1. K
                          Kanu Mistry
                          Mar 26, 2017 at 9:56 am
                          Congress Party leaderless in absence of Rahul hi? Are you joking? The party is leaderless even when Rahul hi is present.
                          1. K
                            Kiranprakash Gupta
                            Mar 26, 2017 at 7:36 am
                            Rajnath is not so immature that he spoil his son for a birth in cabinet.First he will look after his son to be mature in complex political arena
                            1. A
                              Mar 25, 2017 at 11:30 pm
                              Murmu sounds like Pratibha Patil ...
                              1. M
                                MAHENDER GORIGANTI
                                Mar 26, 2017 at 12:55 am
                                How Islamic Express is selling cast communal politics to all including BJP in this article is eloquently stated in this report.
                                1. D
                                  D N
                                  Mar 26, 2017 at 8:23 am
                                  This kind of story is only to protect Modi just in case Yogi goes haywire. He has already started cracking. If Yogi succeeds, it's a problem for Modi, if he fails he is a bigger problem.
                                  1. N
                                    Mar 26, 2017 at 11:54 am
                                    Rahul hi's gma was killed in 1984. Not keeping well? You bet!
                                    1. P
                                      Mar 25, 2017 at 8:29 pm
                                      Hinduism and islam are same only for fools. With Islam you can take shallow ideas, twist and explode yourself and others... With Hinduism ideas are too many and too profound and they do not support twisting and explosions... On lie detector, you and your author will agree to all this... It is just your hobby of self deception and ideny crisis plus additionally the fact that you are not on lie detector that you can claim Hindus can also create Taliban or stan... Nepal became a Taliban or stan? Only Islamists have capability to make stan and Taliban.
                                      1. P
                                        Parth Garg
                                        Mar 26, 2017 at 5:50 am
                                        The hidden agenda stands exposed.
                                        1. G
                                          Girish Rao
                                          Mar 26, 2017 at 2:22 am
                                          Venomous inside news ed up for anti BJP whatever good for her. But she also pointed out two things parliament functions when hi's go out second what type of treatment anatanio
                                          1. S
                                            Mar 26, 2017 at 5:55 am
                                            I like the part which says Government could do lot of business n parilament as Rahul hi was out of country. I hope he says abroad for another longer vacation so that more work will get completed
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