Lucknow: Newly elected Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs will meet in Lucknow on 18 March and are likely to elect their legislature party leader, a week after the party won the assembly elections with three-fourth majority.
“Party’s central observers—union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav—will be present at the meeting on Saturday at 5pm,” UP BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said. Asked specifically as to whether there was any likelihood of an election for the post of the leader of the Legislature Party, Pathak avoided a direct reply, saying, “I can’t say.”
With various pros and cons weighing heavily on their mind, the BJP top brass has kept pending the decision on the next chief minister despite winning 325 seats along with its allies in the 403-member house. People aware of the news said the party was extra cautious as it does not want to take one wrong step when it comes to Uttar Pradesh, where it stormed to power after a 14-year hiatus. Moreover with the next Lok Sabha election in 2019 in mind, the party cannot afford to take any wrong decision, said some insiders when asked about the delay in declaring the CM’s name.
After a stupendous win in the Assembly election, the party can ill afford to lower its guard in 2019 general elections. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha and is extremely important in the BJP’s scheme of things. Party insiders said the overwhelming mandate has posed a fresh challenge for the BJP to meet sky-high expectations. Earlier, the party’s observers for Uttar Pradesh were expected to reach Lucknow on 15 March and the meeting with newly elected MLAs was said to be likely on 16 March.