The suspense over next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh further deepened on Friday evening, with neither of the Union Ministers -- Manoj Sinha and Rajnath Singh, the "front runners" in the race for the post -- visiting Lucknow on Saturday.
The newly-elected BJP legislators are scheduled to elect their leader in the state capital on Saturday evening. According to officials in the office of the Union Minister of State for Railways and Telecom, Sinha will reach Ghazipur, his parliamentary constituency, on Saturday and will go to Mughlasarai later in the day. According to protocol issued by the ministry, Sinha will leave for New Delhi by a night train from Varanasi.
Another name doing the rounds for the top job in Uttar Pradesh, where BJP won 325 seats along with its allies in the 403 member House, is that of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. But he is also not scheduled to come to Lucknow on Saturday. His trip to Lucknow is scheduled for Sunday when the new government will be sworn in, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah.
Singh, who was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh during 2001-2002, has ruled himself out of the race and called all speculation about him being named as the state Chief Minister as "crap".
Other names now doing the rounds are those of Mayor of Lucknow Dinesh Sharma and senior BJP leader Swatantra Dev Singh.
BJP's national General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav and Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu are flying into Lucknow on Saturday morning from Delhi to oversee the election of the new legislature party leader. Om Mathur, the BJP leader in charge of the state, is also coming on Saturday, a party leader said.