The search is on to find a successor after Uttar Pradesh BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Cabinet Friday. Sources in the party said that with less than three years to go for Assembly elections, they are likely to go with either a Brahmin or an OBC name for the post and the main focus would be on “coordination between the organisation and the government”.
“Although the decision will be taken by the party leadership in Delhi, it is going to be a big responsibility for the leader who will be chosen for the job. We expect the leadership to choose someone, who is good with the organisation and will also be able to coordinate with the government,” said a senior party leader who did not wish to be named.
“Considering the fact that a large section of OBCs and Dalits voted in favour of BJP, we can expect that the new state president could be from one of these castes. However, this will happen only if the party leadership does not decide to go with a Brahmin face again this time,” said another party leader.
According to party sources, chances of former Union minister Manoj Sinha, who lost the election from Ghazipur, appear to be stronger than others. Belonging to an upper caste, Sinha’s clean image, RSS background and proximity to Amit Shah and Narendra Modi may give him an edge over others.
However, if the party leadership plans to opt for an OBC face, state minister Swatantra Dev Singh could be a strong contender, a party leader said.
Among the Brahmin faces, the party may choose Shiv Pratap Shukla or Mahesh Sharma. Sources added that among the Dalit members, likely choice could be Lakshman Acharya, the state vice-president and also an MLC, or Vidya Sagar Sonkar, who had lost 2017 Assembly elections but was then sent to the Upper House of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
Before Mahendra Nath Pandey, BJP had made Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC, its state president.
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