Manoj Sinha is front runner for U.P. CM

BJP legislators will meet today to elect new leader; Rajnath’s consent taken by party leadership to make the choice

March 17, 2017 11:17 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:58 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with MoS Manoj Sinha (left) and UP BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya during a rally in Gazipur recently. File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with MoS Manoj Sinha (left) and UP BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya during a rally in Gazipur recently. File photo

Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) Manoj Sinha is being seen as the front runner for the much-coveted job of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. Seven days after the U.P. results came in, BJP legislators will meet on Saturday to elect their new leader.

A source said Home Minister Rajnath Singh had been kept in the loop on the decision and the BJP leadership would make the name of their new U.P. leader on Saturday.

“The Home Minister is not going to attend the meeting in Lucknow tomorrow [Saturday] as he is not an MLA. Second, party observers would be there. His consent has been taken by the party leadership for the CM contender,” said the source.

Mr. Singh was also being seen as one of the contenders for the post along with BJP State unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, who was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital with low blood pressure and attendant complaints on Thursday.

Mr. Maurya, who was discharged from hospital on Friday, tweeted, “On 18th March a meeting of U.P legislators will be held in Lucknow and all should reach there by 2 p.m. and the meeting would start at 4 p.m.”

Mr. Sinha, however, told reporters on Friday that he was “not in any race.” The comment came a day after BJP president Amit Shah left everyone guessing with his remark that he has given the responsibility of choosing the CM to Mr. Maurya.


Naa mujhe kisi race kaa pata hai, naa main kisi race main hoon [neither do I know about any race for U.P. CM, nor I am in any race],” Mr. Sinha, an upper caste Bhumihar who represents the Ghazipur constituency in the Lok Sabha, told reporters outside Parliament.

Asked if he was a contender for the post, Mr. Maurya, the BJP’s OBC face in U.P., told reporters how he could choose himself after Mr. Shah had given him the responsibility to select the CM. Names of Swatantra Dev Singh, an OBC Kurmi; Satish Mahana, a Khatri from Kanpur, and Suresh Khanna from Shahjahanpur are also being talked about.

The party’s central observers — Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav —will be present at the Lucknow meeting.

Shah to consult RSS

Before this, party chief Amit Shah is expected to visit Coimbatore, where the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s top decision-making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, is meeting.

“Before the final decision on something as important as choosing the Chief Minister of India’s most populous State, the party will hold final consultations with the Sangh,” said a BJP leader. Party sources say the swearing-in is likely on Sunday.

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