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NDA Mum as Wannabes Abound

BJP hasn’t named a CM candidate; many names of potential candidates crop up causing confusion in ranks

Published: 19th October 2015 05:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2015 05:01 AM   |  A+A-

PATNA:A handful of names of contenders for the Chief Minister’s post are doing the rounds within the BJP, even as pressure mounts on the NDA to declare a candidate to challenge the Grand Alliance’s Nitish Kumar in the Bihar Assembly elections.

The party had decided that it would contest the elections in the name of Prime Minister Modi, as in polls in Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra. Its decision to announce a CM candidate backfired in Delhi.

Many BJP workers and observers believed Sushil Kumar Modi would be the obvious man for the job as he was leading the campaign in the state and had worked as deputy to Nitish for seven and a half years. However, he has stern critics within the BJP. His association with Nitish goes against him, as when others were rooting for Modi as the NDA’s PM candidate, he preferred Nitish.

Last week, a section of BJP leaders suggested EBC leader Prem Kumar. Speculation has been rife since he was seen sharing the dais during Modi’s election rallies. Kumar, who has been Gaya MLA since 1990, is facing a challenge from Congress candidate Priya Ranjan, also a member from the Kahar caste. His supporters argue that floating Kumar’s name as CM candidate would consolidate Kahar votes and attract other voters.

The name of the BJP candidate from Nokha, Rameshwar Prasad Chaurasia, who belongs to EBC category and is seen as close to Modi, is also doing the rounds. Chaurasia was in charge of the Delhi state unit and shared charge of the BJP in UP. As the Grand Alliance is led by two backward leaders, the BJP is eyeing EBC voters, who constitute 30 per cent of the electorate. Union Minister Giriraj Singh said the next CM would be an EBC.

Rajendra Singh, the BJP candidate from Dinara, is seen as a dark horse in the race. Singh is the organising general secretary of the party’s Jharkhand unit. A full-time RSS pracharak, he was considered a key strategist during last year’s successful Jharkhand elections.

Sources concede that with more names cropping up from within, the party could create more confusion, as alliance partners like HAM(S)’s Jitan Ram Manjhi and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha are also eyeing the top post.

“Floating names for a chief ministerial candidate in the middle of elections may send a confusing signal to party workers,” said a BJP party worker. No senior party leader was ready to comment on the issue.

Ajay Kumar Jha, a political analyst, added, “The BJP has failed to project a party leader to counter Nitish and Lalu, and it’s too late to come out with any name now. Some of the leaders whose names are being suggested are not even sure of winning.”



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