BJP confident of winning Uttar Pradesh, begins shortlisting CM candidates

While the party has thought of all possible scenarios and the action blueprint in each scenario, the new-found confidence of a certain victory has put to rest other scenarios.

On a day Varanasi was draped in saffron for Modi's election campaign, the state BJP expressed confidence of a clear victory, expecting to breach the 300-seat mark.Senior BJP leaders told Mail Today that the scramble to find a credible and politically correct chief minister has already begun.

While the party has thought of all possible scenarios and the action blueprint in each scenario, the new-found confidence of a certain victory has put to rest other scenarios- such as a post-poll alliance with BSP-as least for now.

THE CANDIDATES BEING CONSIDERED

Sources said while there are several leaders in contention for the top job, the name of state BJP chief and OBC leader Keshav Prasad Maurya is one that could land as a surprise selection.

Other competitors in the fray are veteran BJP leader and OBC face Uma Bharti, eastern UP stalwart Manoj Sinha, Thakur leader and hardliner Yogi Adityanath, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lucknow mayor and Modi-Shah confidante Dinesh Sharma. Incidentally, sources said the name of Union minister Mahesh Sharma is out of contention.

WHO IS KESHAV PRASAD MAURYA

Sources added Maurya is a rather more complete package for the position as he could be the replacement to the longlost dynamics of the Kalyan Singh days when the party had emerged as the sole option for non-Yadav OBCs and EBCs.

Maurya's proximity to the Sangh also lends him weight, though most other names too weigh equally in this respect. Age too is in his favour.

MANOJ SINHA

Another senior BJP office-bearer said leaders such as Sinha, though credible, does not fit in the long-term political dynamics of the party in the state; "An OBC leader seems more politically viable and pragmatic a choice," he said.

Moreover, reports from within the party also suggest that Bharti has thrown in her support behind Maurya.

Meanwhile, the party claims that if it succeeds, a large part of the credit, apart from the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would go to the organisational strength of the party in UP.

"The difference between us and others is that they are candidates who are contesting, but we are a party and an organisation fighting the elections. We are contesting as a party on every booth," said UP BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan.

"The party has followed two strategies: one is devolution of work-everyone has been tasked with specific work and made accountable. There is no confusion, therefore. The other is 'Purva Yojana, Purna Yojana' which means pre-planning is complete planning," he added.

"After the Lok Sabha elections, the party had embarked on a mission to capture UP.

UP took the lead over other state units in all the programmes of the party-membership, mass contact and training," he further said.

"We are the only party that has a comprehensive reach to the grassroot level as we have booth-level organisation in place unlike other parties. The party was aware of the social realities and hence, social engineering and management were given due weight," he iterated.

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