BJP in a dilemma over CM can­di­date for next year’s UP As­sem­bly polls

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ku­mar Ut­tam ku­mar.ut­tam@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: As the BJP read­ies for the cru­cial elec­toral bat­tle in Ut­tar Pradesh next year, it is caught in a Ham­le­tian dilemma: to pro­ject or not to pro­ject a chief min­is­te­rial can­di­date.

A se­ries of in­ter­nal con­sul­ta­tions in the past few weeks has not pro­duced an an­swer. As per the party lead­er­ship’s as­sess­ment, the BJP needs to pro­ject a face to take on Akhilesh Ya­dav and Mayawati, the re­spec­tive chief min­is­te­rial can­di­dates of the Sa­ma­jwadi Party and the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party.

The prob­lem, how­ever, is the BJP does not have many cred­i­ble op­tions in a state where it got 71 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014.

“We are dis­cussing two is­sues. Should we pro­ject a face and if yes, who? There has to be a caste bal­ance be­tween the CM face and the party chief. Th­ese have to be shared be­tween a back­ward and an up­per caste leader,” a Union min­is­ter from UP, who is part of the con­sul­ta­tion process, said.

The BJP lead­er­ship is wary of an up­per caste leader as its face in UP, where the back­wards hold the key. It is equally wor­ried about the prospects of its up­per caste sup­port base drift­ing away.

CON­TIN­UED ON P12

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