Lucknow: BJP vice-president Kalraj Mishra on Tuesday said the party’s Parliamentary Board, which is the highest decision making body, will decide the Chief Ministerial candidate if it wins the UP Assembly elections.

Mishra, who is one of the front-runners for the chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh, said the decision on who will be CM will be taken by the Parliamentary Board.

He, however, maintains that the party must first strive to get the required numbers.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari had earlier stated that the party was fighting the electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of state unit president Surya Pratap Shahi, former party president Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra and firebrand Hindutva leader Uma Bharti.

Mishra recounted that Gadkari has also pointed out that Shahi is the state unit president (and hence can’t hold two posts) while Rajnath Singh has already cleared that he is no longer active in state politics.

Bharti, who is from the Lodh community and rose to prominence during the Ram Janambhoomi movement, is a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Ever since Gadkari announced that she will contest the UP elections from Charkhari constituency of Mahoba district, speculation has been rife about her being a prospective chief ministerial candidate. Her case is also strengthened by the fact that she is an OBC leader and the BJP is aggressively wooing this community.

Mishra is all-praise for Bharti and feels she has strengthened the BJP campaign in UP.

However, the former minister of the erstwhile BSP-BJP government feels Bharti is a national leader of the party and should not be seen only in the context of UP politics.

Though Mishra states that he is one of the four leaders under whom the party has decided to contest the polls in Uttar Pradesh, he hastens to add, "I am not saying I am the chief ministerial candidate".

He also evaded a reply when asked if the BJP would choose a Brahmin- the community to which he belongs- as the Chief Minister, saying the final decision will be taken by the Parliamentary Board.

(Agencies)