Daijiworld Media Network
Lucknow, Jun 10 : As there are just less than three days left for BJP's national executive meeting, the senior leaders in the party are gearing up to present their strategies to tackle the up-coming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. The assembly polls for India's biggest state are due early next year. Riding with the success in North East, BJP is optimistic of repeating the same in UP too.
But task is not easy as there will be strong contest from SP, BSP and Congress. In one hand, Prashant Kishor who played significant role in masterminding BJP's victory in centre back in 2014, and later same success repeated by him in Bihar by planning accurately, the Nitish - Lalu Jodi's victory, has already started his work in favour of Congress to face the next assembly election. On the other hand, the caste calculation and strong loyal votes of SP and BJP also prove difficult for BJP's plan. Unlike in Bihar, BJP wants to place a 'well acceptable' leader as CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh.
All major surveys conducted by private firms show, Varun Gandhi, son of late Sanjay and present union minister Maneka Gandhi is leading by big gap as popular choice for CM face in UP. But, the Narendra Modi - Amit Shah duo has serious problem in promoting Varun in any ways. His connection with Nehru - Gandhi family is the biggest problem for them. In addition, both mother and son are going soft on mother and son from other side, Sonia and Rahul. The section of BJP top brass expects sharp attack on Congress side of Gandhi family, but so far Maneka and specially Varun has not made any serious political attack on them.
Varun rose to the top position in last ten years as he was enjoying great support right from Atal Bihari Vajapayee to Rajnath Singh. In the year 2012 Rajnath Singh, the then BJP chief made Varun as national secretary of BJP. Incidentally, he was the youngest one to grab that position in BJP's history. But once Modi - Shah entered into the picture, things have changed for Varun. If one can closely follow the Maneka's statement against her own government minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday, June 9, the outburst is clearly visible in Maneka's action. She knows that top surveys show Varun as popular choice to lead the UP election, but decision makers in the top do not want to promote him.
According to a senior party leader, many organisational strategists see Varun Gandhi as a symbol of dynastic politics. "He represents the Gandhi family in the BJP. That's something which contradicts the Sangh's ideology," the leader said.
The surveys carried out by different agencies over the past few months are quite revealing. In April, an ETV poll said that the most popular BJP leader for the post of chief minister of UP was Varun Gandhi with 51%. He was trailed by home minister Rajnath Singh, a considerable distance behind with 28%, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh at 10%, Hindutva firebrand Yogi Adityanath at 8%, party veteran Kalraj Misra at 2% and human resources development minister Smriti Irani at just 1%.
In May, another similar survey for BJP chief ministerial candidates by Asume Research for India Today group also showed Varun Gandhi leading with 45%, Rajnath Singh with 34%, Yogi Adityanath with 5%, Kalraj Misra with 4% and Smriti Irani again with just 1%. Interestingly, even in the overall poll for all party leaders in the same survey, Varun Gandhi scored creditably with 20%, behind Mayawati leading the pack with 26% and Akhilesh Yadav at second position with 22% but well ahead of Rajnath Singh at 10% and Priyanka Gandhi at 12%.
This month, the widely circulated Hindi daily Amar Ujala published a survey that further confirmed Varun Gandhi’s high popularity ratings among potential BJP chief ministerial candidates. Here the young Gandhi scored 36.45% – ahead of Rajnath Singh with 29.64%, Yogi Adityanath with 22.22% and Smriti Irani languishing at the bottom with 11.72%.
Age is with Varun Gandhi, people like him even more than Rajnath Singh. But decision makers think otherwise. Varun will lose a golden opportunity in his career only because of his connection with Gandhi family. But one should not forget that, whatever he is today, that too become his 'Gandhi' surname for sure.