Rajnath Singh set to become Uttar Pradesh's next chief minister

Cheryl Sanders
March 17, 2017

The new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, whose name is yet to be announced, would be sworn in along with cabinet ministers in Lucknow on March 19.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, considered the front runner for the post in U.P., when asked whether he was offered the job, said: "Kya faltu baat hai, sab anaavashyak hai [what useless talk is this, completely unnecessary]". Manoj Sinha is also the choice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of BJP Amit Shah. The supporters of Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, who had been mounting pressure on the BJP leadership to put him at the helm of the UP government, now want him to at least get the post of deputy chief minister. "In fact, a meeting of party MLAs hasn't been called yet", a newly elected BJP MLA said.

A native of Ghazipur, Sinha cut his teeth in politics as the president of the BHU students union in the early 1980s but his big break came only in the nineties when he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time. The BJP rode to resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections on the promise of waiving loans of small and marginal farmers.

Singh, a former UP chief minister, is probably the tallest BJP leader in the state, while Sinha, an upper caste Bhumihar, too has considerable administrative experience.

UP chief minister hopeful Keshav Prasad Maurya was admitted to the ICU at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here after falling ill. Most leaders are of the opinion that Amit Shah and the prime minister will finalise the name which would then be ratified by the legislature party. However, the party has not been able to decide the CM candidate for UP, where they won 312 seats in the 403-member Assembly.

Dushyant Chuatala (INLD) said the BJP had promised farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh but the Finance Ministry had cited Reserve Bank of India expressing reservation about any such move as it will have negative impact on credit quality in farming.

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