Speculations about a change of guard in Uttar Pradesh have been laid to rest with the central BJP team, which has been camping in Lucknow for some days, making it evident that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will lead the party in the 2022 state elections.
Party national General Secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh was sent to Lucknow two days back for a review after reports of discontent among party MLAs and local leaders over the CM’s handling of the COVID crisis, BJP’s massive loss in the recent panchayat elections and lack of coordination between government and party leaders, among others.
During the last two days, Santhosh held parleys with BJP’s UP leaders and listened to their grievances. He is believed to have told the central leadership that Adityanath was the party’s best bet before the all-important state elections next year.
However, some key changes are expected in the state party unit and the Cabinet. “A cabinet reshuffle has been pending and some fresh inductions could happen to balance out caste equations further, while some ministers may be brought into the organisation to strengthen the party before the UP polls,” a minister in the UP government told News18.
Santhosh has reported back that despite some discontent against him, Adityanath is the most powerful and popular leader in the state and removing him will only divide the house in Uttar Pradesh, which may prove detrimental to the party’s interests in the country’s biggest state, which the BJP won with a full majority (309 seats) in 2017.
The voices of dissent though not quelled have been adequately told that disagreement can’t be at the cost of the party’s reputation amongst the masses.
Santhosh gave adequate hints of his support to the UP government when he released a series of tweets supporting the CM, especially with regards to his handling of the COVID crisis.
“In five weeks, @myogiadityanath’s Uttar Pradesh reduced the new daily case count by 93% … Remember it’s a state with 20+ Cr population. When municipality CMs could not manage a city of 1.5 Cr population, Yogiji managed quite effectively,’ Santhosh tweeted.
“UP Govt led by CM Sri @myogiadityanath decides to vaccinate parents of children below 12 years. A wise move considering the logic that if at all third wave comes it may affect children more. Parents will be around to look after more safely,” said Santhosh in another tweet.
Uttar Pradesh will be the first major state to face elections after the deadly second COVID wave. The BJP had captured power in the most populous state in 2017, under the leadership of Amit Shah. In the 403-member assembly, the BJP had bagged a whopping 309 seats, followed by the Samajwadi Party (49), the Bahujan Samaj Party (18) and the Congress (7).