When Home Minister Rajnath Singh was entering Parliament from Gate No. 4, a posse of journalists rushed to ask him that one question which is on everyone's mind from Delhi to Lucknow.
Is he going to be the next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh? An ever-smiling Rajnath Singh got midly irritated at the question and called such speculations "rubbish and baseless" and went inside Parliament.
What is stopping the BJP from announcing the name of the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh is a question that many have asked since the party's landslide win in the state on March 11.
AN EXTRA-CAUTIOUS BJP
The BJP has shown considerable alacrity when it came to Goa and Manipur. However, in Uttarakhand, government formation has taken a back seat as the BJP's Parliamentary Board meeting, scheduled for March 16, has been postponed.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is extra cautious and party insiders say there are reasons for it. The appointed observers for Uttar Pradesh were expected to reach Lucknow on March 15 and the meeting with newly-elected MLAs was scheduled for March 16 but was cancelled at the last minute.
According to sources in the BJP, the party does not want to take one wrong step when it comes to Uttar Pradesh. The party observers too are playing safe. Several MLAs have been called to Delhi to have a free and frank talk on what should be done.
Not just this, observers and other senior leaders sitting in Delhi are calling up MLAs to gauge the mood. Unlike in other four states, when it comes to Uttar Pradesh all consultations have so far happened in Delhi.
WHAT IS TOP BRASS THINKING?
The meticulous caste calculus, carefully stitched by BJP President Amit shah and his team, which helped the BJP win is a major consideration for deciding on the next Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
There are also talks on how after a stupendous win in the Assembly election, the party has is now eyeing the 2019 General Elections. Uttar Pradesh, given that it sends 80 MPs to Parliament, is extremely important in the BJP's strategy for 2019 and party insiders feel that the overwhelming mandate has posed a fresh challenge for the BJP.
A senior BJP leader in the thick of things said it is not possible for an MLA to handle more than 300 legislators, nor has any MLA the aura needed to be on the hot seat in Uttar Pradesh. "You have to keep in mind the mandate which we have received and 2019... a strong leader from Centre can be sent to UP," the senior party leader said.
"This is because the kind of support people have given to us, we have to rise to their sky-high expectations, and it will be a challenge to fulfil those," he said.
WHO WILL CLINCH IT?
The senior BJP leader said that while in Maharashtra and Haryana, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah went against the grain to pick a candidate who was not leading the race, but following the same model in Uttar Pradesh is fraught with danger.
The party also knows that given the kind of bumper voting it has seen from both forward caste as well as Non-Yadav OBC, it would not want to upset the caste balance. There are talks that if the chief minister is made from one community, the deputy chief minister can be chosen from another community.
So, will the BJP appoint the next Uttar Pradesh chief minister from the list of strong contenders like Rajnath Singh, Minister of State Manoj Sinha, BJP's UP president Keshav Prasad Maurya or will an M L Khattar moment hit the state?