BJP Balks at Naming CM's Before Polls. Too Many Contenders
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party, faced with too many contenders and factions in some of the states, is caught between a rock and a hard place. If it does not name a CM candidate as in Bihar, it might stand to lose an election more so if the Opposition parties in the fray are clear about their candidate; but if it applies the Assam strategy to other states in mainland India it might create more problems for itself.
So far, despite the aggressive campaign, the BJP has not been able to name a CM candidate for the crucial elections in Uttar Pradesh where there are almost as many factions as there are leaders. The same issue will confound the party in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka---with polls for the last two scheduled in 2018. Uttarakhand will go for the elections next year.
The BJP does like to announce candidates for its top posts as it goes into the elections. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to be visibly amused at the party slogan at the time "Ab ki Baari, Atal Behari". In 2003 the party had fought Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh elections under its CM candidates--Vasundhara Raje and Uma Bharati.
More recently the BJP has moved away from this practice, obviously worried about alienating factions with a certain choice. In Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand the party followed the Congress practice of selecting Chief Ministers after the polls.
In Karnataka, the factional fight for the spoils of electoral victory have already begun. Union minister Ananth Kumar, B.S.Yeddyurappa are both powerful contenders for the top job in the state. This feud is expected to sharpen further as the elections approach.
In Uttarakhand all former BJP chief ministers--B S Koshiyari,Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' and B C Khanduri--are in the CM race. In Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar are confronting each other. Both are former chief ministers of the state, and have their own separate following within the party.
In Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh the BJP is not likely to face any problems and will go into the elections as and when due under the present chief ministers….Laxmikant Parsekar (Goa),Vijay Rupani (Gujarat),Vasundhara Raje(Rajasthan),Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh. Raje who has been on a political see-saw for a while, seems to have mended relations with PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah and for the past several months has remained below the radar of adverse publicity.
(Cover Photograph: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan surveying flood affected areas in his state)