BJP's looming crisis in UP: Who will be its CM face?

Brijesh Pandey
Brijesh PandeyJun 20, 2016 | 19:36

BJP's looming crisis in UP: Who will be its CM face?

जय केशव ग्यान गुन सागर

जय केशव तिहुँ लोक उजागर।।

यू पी दूत अतुलित बलधामा

मौर्या पुत्र केशव नामा।।

यू पी विश्वगुरु बन जावै

जब केशव लखनऊ मैं आवै।।

If you are a devout Hindu and have heard or recited the Hanuman Chalisa hundreds of times, you would be shocked to see the above-quoted version. But as far as politics in Uttar Pradesh in concerned, anything is possible, including the rewriting of Hanuman Chalisa, of course to please the political bosses.


This version of a reconfigured Hanuman Chalisa, extolling virtues of the new UP BJP chief - Keshav Prasad Maurya - and how UP will become a foremost state if Keshav comes to Lucknow as chief minister, speaks volumes about the kind of rewriting going on in the echelons of the party.

These lines from an "updated" Hanuman Chalisa, which has gone viral on social media, have triggered a new war of words in Uttar Pradesh.  

Keshav Prasad Maurya denounced any comparison with gods and dubbed this Chalisa a "conspiracy" of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

But UP BJP chief's prompt denial notwithstanding, the import of this message was not lost on anybody.

BJP's UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya with party's national president Amit Shah.

Just how many factions and their leaders within the BJP are nursing the ambition of becoming the chief minister of UP was also apparent at the Nirbhaya Padyatra carried out by Sardhana MLA Sangeet Som. During the padyatra, when journalists asked him about the potential CM candidate of UP, it was pretty much a cue for his supporters to start shouting slogans proclaiming Sangeet Som to be the ideal CM candidate of UP.


Though Som asked his supporters not to raise the slogans and said that final decision lay with the parliamentary board of the party, it was amply clear that the body language and slogans of people wanted to establish his candidature as a distinct possibility.

For the BJP, which is already grappling with various factions laying claim for the top post, this hoopla around Som couldn't have come at a worse time. Already they have seen Sultanpur MP, Varun Gandhi, virtually plastering the whole city of Allahabad with his own posters, leaving precious little to imagination for the party top brass on what exactly are his sentiments on being the perfect candidate for the post of Uttar Pradesh CM.

A poster of BJP's national executive showing Varun Gandhi with Narendra Modi. 

Not to be outdone, a group of Hindu Yuva Vahini took out a procession in Allahabad demanding that Yogi Adityanath should be declared as the CM candidate of the BJP in UP.

Apart from the open assertions of these two leaders, names of bigger stars, such as Smriti Irani and Mahesh Sharma, as well as a couple of others, are also doing the rounds, with feigned denials coming in a way prompting the media to believe the story rather than their whimpering rejections.


But if all these names are doing the circuit rounds, can that of Sakshi Maharaj be far behind?

Of course, not.

During the BJP national executive in Allahabad, Sakshi Maharaj was heard saying that the party should announce a CM candidate and it should be from the OBC caste only.

According to a senior UP BJP leader, the all-out infighting is counterproductive for the party's prospects in India's most populous state. "It's not a happy situation for the party as it is already facing a tough fight between Varun Gandhi and Yogi Adityanath, where each faction is claiming that their leader is the choice of the youth and only they can end the hibernation of BJP in Uttar Pradesh. To add more names as possible CM aspirants sends a wrong signal to the public."

Yogi Adityanath too has thrown his hat into the ring. 

However, looks like it's going to be a long-winded and agonising decision for the top brass. Party insiders say that several leaders, who are not revealing their cards at present, are equally in the reckoning, and there is a section within the party which feels that the BJP high command should have a frank talk with these leaders to nip any unwarranted aspiration in the bud.

The BJP leadership is obviously aware of these aspirations and how it has the potential of scoring a self-goal. But they also concede that all this is easier said than done.

It seems Uttar Pradesh will continue to be the boiling pot that it is for at least some time now.

Last updated: June 21, 2016 | 16:18
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