Dehradun: An analysis of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has projected 40 seats for the party in the 70-member Uttarakhand assembly, but the central leadership and elected MLAs will unanimously decide who will be the chief minister, said Shyam Jaju, the party’s state in-charge.
Unlike the Congress that ran its election campaign with incumbent Harish Rawat as the chief ministerial face, the BJP did not project a local leader for the top job. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the lynchpin of the saffron party’s campaign in Uttarakhand that went to polls on February 15.
“Our national president Amit Shah during a rally in the state has already announced that the CM candidate will be jointly decided by the parliamentary committee and winning MLAs,” Jaju, BJP national vice president, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
The BJP leaders eying the top job include Satpal Maharaj, who contested for Chaubattakhal, Trivendra Singh Rawat (Doiwala), Ajay Bhatt (Ranikhet), MPs Ajay Tamta (Almora) and Rameh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (Haridwar), and former CM Vijay Bahuguna.
The party will not announce a name unless it sweeps the polls on March 11, the counting day. “Certainly, we have done some home work in this regard,” Jaju cleared the air.
Satisfied with the party’s four-month-long campaign spearheaded by the central leadership and executed by state leaders, Jaju pointed out chinks in the Congress approach.
“Central leadership of Congress did not support Harish Rawat. That’s the reason why he was the only one campaigning for his candidates in all constituencies,” he said.
Congress cabinet minister Yashpal Arya joined the BJP because of this reason, he added. “Yashpal Arya was next to CM in the party. What led him to be a turncoat is the hollowness of Congress party that did not back its CM or candidates in Uttarakhand.”
The BJP supported the Congress turncoats, but it failed to pacify its rebels who threatened to dent its poll prospects in some pockets. Rebel candidates who contested as independents could give a big blow to party on seats, such as Narendra Nagar, Rishikesh and even Ranikhet.
“Dissidents are bound to surface whenever candidates are declared. Parliamentary committee after thorough discussion and analysis chose candidates. The party has taken action against rebels and I don’t see any threat from them,” Jaju said.
Union health minister JP Nadda and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan were the election in-charges for the state. Jaju was made the state in-charge after Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary, failed to ensure BJP’s win during the floor test in 2016.
“Starting from Parivartan Yatra to pushing national leaders for campaigning, I think we have executed the plan very well. We will win in Uttarakhand with a big majority,” Jaju said.