Who will be the face of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh? Whom will the party project as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly polls? These questions scare the party’s leadership. Each time such questions came to surface, the party tried to do away with these. For the first time on Friday in an interview with Dainik Jagran in Lucknow, BJP national vice-president and chairman of Uttar Pradesh election campaign committee, Kalraj Mishra, admitted that the public is also curious to know whom the party is projecting as the next UP CM.

Excerpts from his exclusive interview to Dainik Jagran:

Where do you see the BJP in Uttar Pradesh?
The situation is favourable for the BJP in the state. It depends on the party to cash in on the opportunity. The party is yet to finalise the leader.

Your people are still undecided over whom to look up to, whom to consider as the leader-Uma Bharti, Shahi or Kalraj? 
No one should have any misconception. Everyone’s role within the party is clearly demarcated.

Uma Bharti’s comeback in the BJP and the way she has been entrusted with UP mission sends across a message that she is the super boss of Uttar Pradesh?
No one is boss in the BJP. We have a collective leadership in the party.

Will the BJP contest the elections by projecting Uma Bharti as the Chief Ministerial candidate?
As far as my knowledge is concerned, she is in UP for the Ganga cleaning project. She is also concerned about making the party more powerful. Till the central leadership does not declare the name, conclusions must not be drawn on the issue.

Does this mean she is not a contender for the post of Chief Minister?
I have already said what I had to say in this matter.

Why are the top leaders in Uttar Pradesh nervous with Uma’s entry in the state politics?
Who is nervous? Her return to the BJP was with everyone’s consent.

After her return to the party, she comes to Lucknow for the first time and key leaders like Kalraj Mishra, Rajnath Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Keshri Nath Tripathi, Ramapati Tripathi do not meet her, they are not present in Lucknow? What should one draw from this?
I had my prior commitments, so I could not make it to Uttar Pradesh that day.

What was the need to bring Uma in Uttar Pradesh politics? Were the UP leaders incapable?
It is not like that. The UP leaders are strong and will remain to be strong. Uma has added to our strength.

Kalyan Singh says that the BJP can never find his alternative?
He is no more in the party, thus he must worry about himself rather than our party.

He says that BJP is a party of Brahmins, it does not accommodate the backward class?
Kalyan Singh was made Chief Minister twice, was he a Brahmin?

Kalyan defies it by saying that it was BJP’s compulsion. He was the one who transformed the party of eight Legislators into a ruling party?
Kalian was in Jan Sangh also. If he is such a powerful leader then why could not he form a government with Jan Sangh.

While making you the Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh election campaign committee, it was said that you would be projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate?
I did not say that.

Are you a contender for the Chief Minister’s post?
Our party does not have a tradition of taking individual decisions.

In whose leadership will the party contest the UP elections?
The national leadership will decide on this.

What is your take? Should the BJP contest elections by projecting a Chief Ministerial candidate?
The public do want to know the name of BJP Chief Minister. When we go among the masses and tell them that to elect us as an alternative to the BSP and the SP, the obvious question which the public asks is, “Who will be your Chief Minister?”


(JPN/Bureau)