As the Bharatiya Janata Party secured a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh, the spotlight shifted to who will take the top job in the country’s most populous state. With the announcement likely on March 16, here is a list of the top contenders.
57-year-old Sinha is the telecom minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. A two-time parliamentarian, he represents the Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat from eastern Uttar Pradesh. An upper caste Bhumihar leader, Sinha is considered close to Modi and manages the PM’s Varanasi parliamentary constituency.
Keshav Prasad Maurya
The 47-year-old MP from Phulpur comes from a backward community. He currently heads Uttar Pradesh BJP and was closely associated with the VHP during the Ram Temple movement in the 1990s. His appointment as the president of BJP’s state unit was aimed to garner support among the non-Yadav OBCs.
India’s home minister, the 65-year-old Thakur leader was the last BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh. The senior-most BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh, he is considered close to the RSS. He has the experience of running a state government.
Sharma is a first-time member of the Lok Sabha from Gautam Buddha Nagar and is currently the tourism minister in Modi’s cabinet. A practising doctor who owns the Kailash Hospital in Noida, Sharma has been a member of the UP legislative assembly. He is considered close to the RSS.
The 53-year-old leader was first elected the mayor of Lucknow in 2008. He teaches at the Lucknow University and is currently the national vice president of the BJP. He is considered close to BJP president Amit Shah.
That said, Modi is known to spring surprises. It is possible he might pick a candidate few would have considered a frontrunner.
(This story was first published on Saturday. It was updated on Monday)