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Rajnath vs Mulayam: BJP’s UP Plans Feature Home Minister In Key Role

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, one of the most prominent BJP leaders from Uttar Pradesh, is likely to play a pivotal role in the party’s campaign for assembly elections to be held in the state early next year.



Sources said the BJP plans to project Mr Singh as the main face of the party in the UP elections, as a seasoned politician and local leader to take on regional giants like Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati.

Mr Singh is likely to be given charge of the campaign committee in UP, the sources said, adding that the chief ministerial candidate, if at all the party will project one, will be decided later. Mr Singh, who has been chief minister of UP before, is not keen to essay that role again, sources said.

The party also has to get its caste equation right, crucial in UP politics. The projection of Mr Singh, who is a Rajput leader, could upset the party’s Brahmin voters, it is feared, and so a balancing act may be called for later in its choice of chief minister.

A discussion on Mr Singh’s role is likely on the sidelines of the BJP’s national executive meeting in Allahabad this weekend, which will focus on the Uttar Pradesh elections, slotted as a must-win by the BJP. The party hopes to extend its sweep of the 2014 national election – it had won 71 of UP’s 80 seats – to the assembly elections.

Rajnath Singh features prominently on posters that announce the national executive. Hehas been busy in UP already, addressing multiple rallies along with Prime Minister NarendraModi and party chief Amit Shah, as well as independently, like his public meeting in Mautoday.

When PM Modi picked UP’s Saharanpur for a rally to mark his government’s two years inoffice, Rajnath Singh was there. While the Prime Minister listed his government’sachievements, presenting a report card to the people, Mr Singh made a sharp politicalattack on the Samajwadi Party government in the state and asked UP’s voters to bring backthe BJP.