Lucknow :  Jockeying has begun in politically sensitive Uttar Pradesh for projecting different leaders as the chief ministerial face of the BJP, even though the Akhilesh Yadav government is firmly in saddle.

Of late, two names are doing the rounds -– that of State president of the Bharatiya Janata Party Laxmikant Bajpai and that of Varun Gandhi -– much to the embarrassment of the party which is not inclined to stoke any such controversy in the run-up to the State by-polls in 12 Assembly constituencies.

A page on social media titled ‘Laxmikant Bajpai as CM Uttar Pradesh’ has drawn attention of the party and state BJP spokesman Manoj Mishra was constrained to rubbish it.

The party, Mishra said, had nothing to do with this campaign. He also said that the party had written a letter to the senior superintendent of  police, Lucknow, demanding that the page be expunged and appropriate action be taken against those behind it.

The Congress, meanwhile, has lashed out at the reported statement by Union minister and BJP MP Maneka Gandhi promoting her son Varun as the future chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

In a statement on Monday, UPCC spokesman Hilal Ahmed said that the people of Uttar Pradesh will never vote any such party to power that encourages “communalism and divisiveness’’. Ahmed also said that it was ironic that the campaign was being propped up by the MP of a party which always claimed to be against dynastic politics. “People of UP have not forgotten the hate speech by Varun Gandhi during the 2012. Assembly campaign and they will never allow such a ploy to succeed,”  he said.

Ratan Mani Lal

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