Though the top leadership of the BJP has almost decided not to project anyone as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar and that the party would go to the polls with the tried and tested face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is simmering discontent in the saffron party over the leadership issue in the state.
Many veterans in the BJP, who have served the party in various capacities like opposition leader in the state assembly and held significant positions in the NDA government, both at the Centre and the state, feel that the party should give them a chance at leadership.
While some of these leaders like Rajya Sabha MP CP Thakur and former minister in the NDA government, Prem Kumar, have made their intentions public, saying if asked by the party, they would not shirk from taking up the responsibility, others, while being secretive about their ambitions, have been silently lobbying for their individual cases at various levels.
“While one such leader is consistently in touch with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, some others are visiting Union home minister Rajnath Singh regularly to float their names in the party’s parliamentary board meeting, which is the supreme body to decide on such issues,” confided a BJP MLA, who is also aspiring for the top job.
There are two other leaders, who are pushing their case with the party forum on ground of their caste. They shared their feelings with HT but requested that their names must not be printed. “Now that the forthcoming polls in the state are likely to be fought primarily on caste lines, the party can’t afford to ignore us,” they claimed.
There are yet some other leaders, who are equally ambitious, but lack the required following. They are quiet, but feel, that by default, they could be the choice of the parliamentary board. They include mainly the present and former Union ministers from Bihar.
One such group recently held a meeting at the residence of a party MLA in Patna to put pressure on the leadership to project one of its members as the BJP’s CM face. The group members have sought appointment from party national president Amit Shah at New Delhi, sometime in the first week of July, to share their views on the leadership issue. “We want the projection of a person, who should be the unanimous choice of the party,” said the MLA, who had hosted the group’s meeting at his residence.
Notwithstanding the claims and counter claims, no such group or leader is likely to raise the banner of revolt against the final choice of the central leadership.“We will put our views across till the de before air our grievances, but once it is a done thing, we will not oppose it,” said the aspiring leaders for the top job.