Who will be Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh--that is the question the Bharatiya Janata Party faces after its spectacular win on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will make the decision today at the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting.
Will it go the Jharkhand or the Haryana way? Jharkhand's Raghubar Das is a non-tribal caste neutral chief minister in a predominantly tribal state. Modi appointee Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana is the first non-Jat chief minister in nearly two decades and that hasn't gone down well.
Speaking to HuffPost India, senior BJP sources said the following are the probables: Lucknow mayor and Gujarat in-charge Dinesh Sharma, Lok Sabha member and UP state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, national secretary and in-charge of Himachal Pradesh Shrikanth Sharma; and five-time MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath.
Here is how their relative standing stacks up:
The 53-year-old Lucknow University professor, also BJP's national vice president in charge of Gujarat, is close to PM Modi. Last year, the prime minister attended Ramleela celebrations in Lucknow on his invitation, instead of Delhi, breaking tradition. Sharma is also a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) old timer. BJP sources say that he is the front runner.
Keshav Prasad Maurya
A member of the Lok Sabha from Phulpur, Allahabad, Maurya has a long association with the RSS. He isn't, however, new to controversy. Last month, Maurya said that the Ram Temple in Ayodhya would be built if the BJP came to power in UP. Maurya belongs as one of the Most Backward Castes (MBCs). But seriously dampening Maurya's chances are criminal charges including that of murder, rioting and arson.
Sinha hails from eastern Uttar Pradesh, is known for his clean image. The 57-year old leader of the Bhumihar caste has thrice served as a Lok Sabha member from Ghazipur.
BJP's national secretary and spokesperson Sinha is a non-controversial figure. His proximity to BJP President Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley make him a favourite and strong contender. However, his lack of political of experience may hinder his prospects.
Controversial leader and firebrand MP also figures in the list. Several right-wing leaders throw their weight behind him but he is unlikely to make the cut. Sources say that if there isn't consensus on the final choice, a highly unlikely event, the BJP would lean on Home Minister Rajnath Singh to lead the state.
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