Manoj Sinha, Union Minister of State for Railways and three-time MP from Ghazipur, UP, is likely to be appointed as BJP’s state chief in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
BJP office bearers familiar with the matter said that the name of Sinha was almost finalised and an announcement was expected soon. Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP won 71 of 80 seats in the 2014 general elections, is likely to go to the polls in February-March 2017.
Party sources said that Sinha, who is a Bhumihar by caste and won from Ghazipur in east UP, has emerged as the strongest contender for the post because of his clean image and his understanding with other party leaders vying for the same berth.
Sinha is known for his good networking among the party workers at the district level. “He is a grassroots politician, something which both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah desires in the state chief. The reason why he was included in the Cabinet was because he had risen from the bottom. His performance as an MP, even before he was made a minister, has been exemplary both inside Parliament as well as in his constituency. The party leadership feels that Sinha is the perfect choice among the other probables,” a party functionary said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is the tallest BJP leader in the state, has apparently given his assent to the candidature of Sinha. The work ethics of Sinha has also been appreciated by his boss, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, adding to his credibility.
The BJP, which lost the Bihar elections, needs to do well in Uttar Pradesh to build momentum for the 2019 general elections. “The loss in Bihar has affected our momentum and if we do not do well in Uttar Pradesh, then the enthusiasm of both the cadre and the party leadership will nosedive. We are expecting that we will come in power in the state as an alliance partner,” the party functionary said.
In an opinion poll on the forthcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh carried out by a news channel, Bahujan Samaj Party has emerged as the frontrunner with the BJP coming second.