Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to spectacular victories in the recently concluded five-state assembly polls, while winning Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand with overwhelming majorities. The BJP also managed to form the governments in Manipur and Goa despite ending up as the second-largest party. The only black spot was the defeat in Punjab where its alliance government with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was ousted by the Congress. Modi is challenging BJP leaders to spread the party’s ideology to the farthest corners of the country. And he is doing it with a directive cloaked as a caution – “na baithunga, na baithne dunga” (Neither will I rest nor will let you). Earlier, he made his famous remark ‘Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga’; he was referring to corruption and bribes. Nevertheless, that did not work much, as BJP may not have caught in any major scams but one cannot deny the corruption and misconduct prevailing in the party. Modi had said, warning people that neither he will accept bribes, nor allow anyone to do so. But ever since BJP have came to power, the bribes have not stopped in any government departments, his own leaders accept huge bribe. Now, this new slogan is to ensure the party’s victory in the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Meanwhile, Manoj Sinha and Trivendra Singh Rawat seem to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s choice to be Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, respectively. Sinha’s pending elevation to the top post in the politically critical and biggest Hindi heartland state is yet another indicator that Modi and Shah place a higher premium on merit than on any other consideration. A tall well-built Sinha, an alumnus of IIT-BHU in civil engineering, is a three-time MP. As Union Minister of Communication (Independent charge) and MoS of Railways, he maintains a conscious low profile but is seen as a sincere quiet doer, whose work speaks more than his words.
Long ago, he was the BHU Students’ Union president. He is soft-spoken, suave and articulate, but wears a dhoti and a long kurta, which gives him that rugged son-of-the-soil look and feel. His biggest strength is being at equal ease when dealing with the biggest corporate honchos in the communication ministry as with earthly labour unions in the railways. Sinha became a caste-neutral chief ministerial contender just like Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, Vijay Rupani in Gujarat, Raghubar Das in Jharkhand, Manoharlal Khattar in Haryana. Even though, Shivraj Singh Chouhan belongs to the OBC category, his caste and its numerical strength is not known to the wider world. Modi is breaking conventional stereotypes that a chief ministerial nominee has to be considered only from a caste that has numerical majority. Modi’s own caste had a miniscule presence in Gujarat, yet he became the most cherished leader in the state as its chief minister and later across the nation as polls after polls have indicated. Just by securing a clear majority on its own in 2014, Modi broke that old politicians’ and political pundits’ myth that the coalition era was here to stay and no party could secure a majority of its own for the coming decades. And by selecting Sinha to lead Uttar Pradesh for the next five years, Modi has broken another political myth that no upper caste person could become chief minister of a north Indian state. Unfortunately for Maurya who was face of BJP in UP elections, he had too many interviews as most probable chief ministerial nominee. In contrast, Sinha didn’t even give a bite or a brief statement to the media. He kept away from the sunshine for last four days when everyone else in his peer group was basking in glory.
In Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, a leader with RSS background, has emerged as the front-runner in the race for the coveted chief minister’s post. The swearing-in ceremony will take place in Dehradun in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. Rawat, 56, who represents Doiwala assembly constituency, is known to be close to Amit Shah. He is currently in-charge of the party’s Jharkhand unit. He was with the RSS from 1983 to 2002, and held the key post of organising secretary of the Uttarakhand region at first, and later the state. He first won the Doiwala assembly seat in 2002. Elected to the assembly for the third time, he was state agriculture minister in 2007-2012. Earlier, the names of Satpal Maharaj and Prakash Pant were also doing the rounds for the chief minister’s post, but they remained less popular within the party. Both of them shifted loyalities from Congress to BJP. Rawat faced stiff competition from former minister Prakash Pant and former MP Satpal Maharaj.
A Thakur, Rawat was one of the three deputies attached to him in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. As an RSS leader sent to the BJP, Rawat held the post of Sangathan Mantri (organisational secretary) of the Uttarakhand BJP between 1997 and 2002. Both Manoj Sinha and Rawat are the best choices among all other contenders for CM’s post in respective states; they are BJP and RSS loyalists. They gave their best for the party in each election and favoured by top brass of BJP. However, Sinha denies that he is in the race. Let’s see how they will make differences in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
We wish them all the best for their future endeavour.
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