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One of UP CM top contenders, Manoj Sinha says he is ‘not in the race’

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Union minister Manoj Sinha, who is seen among the strong contenders for the post of UP chief minister, said 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 state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, who was considered among the front runners for the top post.

“Neither I am in the race nor do I know of any such race,” said Sinha, the union minister of state for telecom and railways.

What is said to work for Sinha is his administrative record at the Centre, the fact that he is a passout from BHU in Varanasi and that he is amiable to party workers and colleagues.

Besides Maurya and Sinha, home minister Rajnath Singh is also seen a strong contender for the post. There is still no clarity on who the new UP Chief Minister will be. The buzz around home minister Rajnath Singh returning to his home state is petering out.

Keshav Maurya said, “We will hold a meeting of party legislators on Saturday and the oath will happen on Sunday. We will decide on the CM candidate on Saturday by 4 pm.”

Amit Shah on Thursday had said that he has left the responsibility to Keshav Prasad Maurya to decide the CM. Post which, speculations have been rife that Sinha may head Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.

Party’s central observers – Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav – will be present at the meeting on Saturday, UP BJP General Secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said. ​

Most leaders are of the opinion that Amit Shah and the prime minister will finalise the name which would then be ratified by the legislature party. The BJP, which registered an emphatic victory with three-fourths majority in the state, will have to carefully look at caste calculations while deciding the chief minister and the council of ministers.

While Sinha belongs to the upper-caste ‘Bhumihar’ community, Rajnath Singh is a Thakur. The forward castes are considered to be strong votaries of the saffron party. Also in the race is Keshav Prasad Maurya, the state president of the party, who is also the OBC face of the BJP. The party was successful in attracting the influential non-Yadav OBC votes in the recently-held elections.

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