As the BJP’s national executive meeting began on Sunday afternoon, posters featuring party leaders, including that of MP Varun Gandhi, were plastered across Allahabad.
Top BJP brass may have maintained silence over whether to project a chief ministerial face for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, but regional leaders and their supporters, it seems, have taken to these posters to send out a message about their preferences.
Uttar Pradesh, which will have polls early next year, has been a hive activity as parties attempt to make good on the electorally significant state.
The BJP has also ramped up its efforts in the state, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to address a public rally at the valedictory session of the meeting.
However, preparations prior to the important party meet featured posters of BJP leaders, put up by party workers, even as the BJP maintains silence over its CM candidate.
Among them, Varun Gandhi seems to dominate the others. Posters of Union minister Smriti Irani, who is seen as one of the party’s options, are present at relatively fewer places.
“This is not any kind of projection that the party is making in the national executive and hoardings and posters are not parameters of popularity… There are well-wishers of Mr Varun Gandhi, but it’s not through the party effort that this (posters) has come up,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said, dismissing the issue.
Photographs of home minister Rajnath Singh, the BJP’s most prominent state leader, are also visible across the city, at some places alongside that of PM Modi and party chief Amit Shah.
Union minister Uma Bharti, an OBC leader who was seen as the party’s chief ministerial candidate in 2012 assembly polls, is hardly seen.
The party is still mulling its campaign strategy and wondering whether declaring a chief ministerial face, as it did in Assam, will help it deal with factors like caste equation. However, the lack of a face acceptable across the big state is a catch.
Though many in the party feel Rajnath Singh outscores other challengers on most counts, he has earlier expressed a reluctance to join state politics. The party is also unsure if he is their best bet. Rajnath though, will certainly play an important role in the run up to the elections, including possibly heading the party’s campaign.