Amid speculations that he may be projected as the BJP’s chief ministerial face for the 2017 UP Assembly Elections, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has termed it as ‘hypothetical’.
“This is a hypothetical question, I am already at one place,” Singh told ANI.
Stating there is no dearth of leaders in Uttar Pradesh, Singh said that his party would form the government with a ‘clear majority’.
A final decision on deciding the party’s CM candidate could be taken at the meeting of top party leaders at the BJP’s two-day national executive meeting in Allahabad from June 12.
There are also reports that suggest that even if the party does not declare him to the CM candidate, he would assume a prominent role in the election campaign.
Rajnath Singh has earlier served as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and as a Cabinet Minister in the Vajpayee government.
The former BJP president is playing a crucial role in hectic lobbying for the 11 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh.
In April, an ETV poll on most popular BJP leader for the post of chief minister of UP placed Varun Gandhi ahead in the race with 51 per cent votes. Gandhi was followed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh with 28 per cent, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh at 10 per cent, Yogi Adityanath at 8 per cent.
In May, another similar survey for BJP chief ministerial candidates by Asume Research for India Today group also showed Varun Gandhi leading with 45 per cent, Rajnath Singh at 34 per cent, Yogi Adityanath at 5 per cent, Kalraj Misra at 4 per cent and Smriti Irani again at just 1 per cent.
Interestingly, in an overall poll for all party leaders in the same survey, Varun Gandhi scored 20 per cent and was behind Mayawati leading the pack with 26 per cent, Akhilesh Yadav took the second position with 22 per cent but well ahead of Rajnath Singh at 10 per cent and Priyanka Gandhi at 12 per cent.
Following the Assam win, where the party declared Sarbananda Sonowal as the CM candidate months ahead of the contest, it would certainly like to enter the UP turf with a CM candidate. In contrast, the BJP did not declare its CM candidate in Bihar and lost to the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad combine.
However, the party leaders do not believe the concept of one-size-fits-all. They say the party won in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand without projecting anybody.
The BJP would certainly like to replicate the strategy that won it a record 71 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats two years ago. On the menu are rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah’s direct interaction with booth level party activists, and the RSS’s works at the ground level.
The BJP has divided UP into six kshetras (regions) — Kashi, Kanpur-Bundelkhand, Gorakhpur, Awadh, Braj and Paschim, the party chief will address party workers in each region.