Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s name may be doing rounds as the chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh, but it is Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi who has emerged as the BJP “poster boy” with hundreds of his hoardings dotting the city where the party is holding its two-day National Executive conclave.
Alongside Varun Gandhi’s hoardings and posters of varying sizes in the city are those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
The party leaders have gathered in Allahabad to brainstorm the strategy for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, which are due next year. The National Executive meet will be attended by Modi, Shah and other top brass of the party.
“Posters and hoardings don’t mean someone is a claimant for the CM (chief minister’s) post,” said party leader Siddharth Nath Singh.
BJP leaders have made it clear that the parliamentary board will take the call on the chief ministerial candidate closer to the assembly elections in the first half of 2017. Both the timing and selection will be determined by how the state politics unravels in the days ahead, they added.
“The chief ministerial candidate will be declared by the parliamentary board. Since the national executive is being held at Kumbh Nagari we are sending a message to people across the country that the BJP is going to win UP and other states,” BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said.
According to Singh, the party has met with electoral success both when it declared a CM face before the polls, and when it did not.
“We have declared faces in some states and we have not declared faces at times. We need to decide whether we need to announce a CM face, when we have been successful in both formats,” Singh added.
Ahead of the meet, billboards have come up across Allahabad seeking to project the claims of Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi and UP BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya. Other names like HRD minister Smriti Irani and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath are also doing the rounds.
Yet another possibility being discussed is that of Home Minister Rajnath Singh spearheading the charge as campaign committee chief.