Joshi is tipped to become state chief

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Old 09-Feb-2011
Joshi is tipped to become state chief

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is mulling the option of projecting veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi as its chief ministerial candidate for its Uttar Pradesh elections.

Highly-placed sources in the BJP yesterday confirmed that the party had more or less made up its mind to settle for Joshi.

"Besides being an experienced administrator, his [Joshi's] projection as the chief ministerial candidate will benefit the party politically," BJP sources, considered closer to the party chief Nitin Gadkari, said.

Having been overlooked for two key assignments, both BJP and its parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had been looking for a suitable placement for Joshi, a former BJP national president and a former senior federal minister.

Upper caste

Joshi's claim to become the BJP president was overlooked in favour of a younger Gadkari in December 2009 and once again the party settled for Sushma Swaraj in place of Joshi when veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani quit as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Uttar Pradesh is due to elect its new legislative assembly in less than 18 months. BJP has veered around to accept that projecting Joshi, who represents Varanasi seat of Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha, will make the party attractive for the upper caste Brahmin voters who over the years had moved away to the rival Congress party and the state's ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

An internal survey conducted by the Congress party has revealed that the BJP is poised to emerge as the second-largest party in Uttar Pradesh behind BSP if elections were to be held now.

BJP is emerging stronger in Uttar Pradesh as being out of power for the past nine years with the upper caste Rajputs, lower caste Kurmis and the trading community started to rally behind it.

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