The Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP is likely to get a new president next month, when Keshav Prasad Maurya is expected to be elected to the Legislative Council so he can continue as Deputy Chief Minister. There are more than half a dozen hopefuls in the party, but the workers have their fingers crossed in apprehension that the national leadership may announce a name that could take everyone by surprise.
Maurya had to relinquish the post of party state president in adherence to the party’s ‘one person-one post’ policy. BJP chief Amit Shah, during his recent visit to Lucknow, had said that after a new state president is selected, Maurya will devote all his time for the state government.
The deputy CM is also a member of the Lok Sabha, from which he is likely to resign after his election as MLC. The Election Commission has announced the schedule for bypoll to four seats of the Legislative Council. Nominations will start from August 29, and September 5 is last date of filing nominations. Polling will be held on September 15, and the process will be completed before September 18.
“The new state president will be announced either before September 5 or after September 19 as no new works are undertaken in the 15 days of pitra paksha. But it will be done next month itself because the party will have to start preparations for the local body elections, which are likely to be held in November. The state party president will play a crucial role in selection of candidates and election campaign,” said a BJP leader. He said that ever since Maurya took oath as Deputy CM, party workers have been feeling the need for a full-time state president to look after organisational work.
BJP state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “The party top leadership will decide the name for state president at an appropriate time. Mauryaji has already offered his resignation from the post of state president after taking oath as Deputy CM, following the policy of one person-one post.”
The names doing the rounds in the party circle for new state president include those of State Minister for Transport (independent charge) Swatantra Deo Singh, state general secretary Ashok Kataria, state party vice-president Jaswant Saini and Union ministers Sanjeev Balyan and Mahesh Sharma. While Singh is from Bundelkhand, the others are from western UP.
“The next state president could to be from western UP because PM Narendra Modi is an MP from Varanasi, CM Yogi Adityanath belongs to Gorakhpur and Deputy CM Maurya is also from Allahabad (all from eastern UP). An OBC leader from western UP is expected to be state president because there is sizeable population of OBCs in that region,” said a party leader.