Uttar Pradesh CM will be chosen by consensus; consultations on, says Suresh Khanna
Khanna, a bachelor and Khatri by caste, has seen it all — from the Ram temple wave of the 1990s to the Modi wave that led to the BJP’s unprecedented sweep.lucknow Updated: Mar 17, 2017 14:53 IST
Among the 403 lawmakers elected to the 17th UP assembly, Suresh Kumar Khanna, 63, the BJP legislature party leader, is the only one to have won for the eighth consecutive time.
Khanna, a bachelor and Khatri by caste, has seen it all — from the Ram temple wave of the 1990s to the Modi wave that led to the BJP’s unprecedented sweep.
Being talked about either as a contender for the CM post or that of Speaker, Khanna spoke to HT, saying the BJP will live up to its promise of changing the UP’s image from being a ‘bimaru’ state to a developed one.’
The BJP has got a clear mandate in UP. Why this delay in announcing your chief minister?
The BJP is a big party and a democratic party. Naturally, all decisions are taken by consensus. Our party leadership will take the right call at the right time. The Parliamentary Board has already authorised the party chief Amit Shah to take the decision. The UP CM will be chosen by consensus. Consultations are on.
The buzz in the social media says you are among the CM hopefuls?
I have been a loyal party worker. I will do whatever role the party assigns me with. I have been a minister of several key ministries, including planning, that CMs usually keep with them. But it’s the party that will decide my role.
The BJP legislature party was to meet in Lucknow on Thursday. Are we going to know the CM-pick tomorrow?
March 16 was said to be the date but then there is no meeting on the date tomorrow. We will meet and decide.
Is the delay because the BJP government’s performance would perhaps have a bearing on 2019 Lok Sabha polls. So you want a leader who can ensure this?
We will implement our promises in letter and spirit.
The BJP seems to have done well even in minority-dominated areas in UP. Does it make you hopeful that if the trend holds, your party may no longer be the untouchable it once was?
Under Modiji’s leadership, we are moving ahead with the philosophy of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.
You didn’t field any Muslim in UP. Now, will you provide them some representation in the ministry?
Who will be in the government will be decided once the process of government formation is set in motion. But, we have already said that we will be moving on the principle of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas.’
The UP win has set you on course for your majority in the Rajya Sabha. Once that happens, will you be willing to bring legislation on Ram Temple as demanded by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad?
The matter is sub judice and there is no point commenting on it.
Your party made over 200 promises during the UP campaign. You will now be expected to live up to your promise?
We will abide by the ‘Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra’. It’s our commitment.
In your manifesto, you have promised to set up a commission to inquire into all cases of corruption during the last 15 years of SP-BSP rule. Your leaders have even talked of sending SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati to jail. Are you serious?
(laughs) The law will take its course. In our party’s three-year rule at the centre, we have shown it’s possible to run a clean government that thinks of the poor. Irrespective of who becomes the CM, the BJP government in UP will also be run on the same lines.