Lucknow, Mar 18: It’s official now. Gorakhpur MP Yogi Aditya Nath will be the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state that was swept by the BJP in the just concluded Assembly elections by securing 325 seats out of 403.
The proposal of his name was submitted by Suresh Sharma and supported by all the MLAs present in the meeting attended by M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav on Saturday evening.
BJP State President Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma will be deputy chief ministers. The proposal for their names was presented by Yogi Aditya Nath himself on which Venkaiah Naidu had consulted the party president Amit Shah and cleared the plan.
Yogi Aditya Nath is a five-time MP from Gorakhpur and a staunch Hindutva icon of the party. He succeeded Mahant Avaidya Nath as Mahant of Goraksha Peeth. His name was formally announced by senior BJP leader Om Mathur ending all speculations and high drama.
Earlier, suspense shrouded over the name as no official announcement was coming from the BJP top brass. The name of Gorakhpur MP and Mahant of Goraksh Peeth, Yogi Aditya Nath is doing rounds for the post of chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
He was believed to be the strongest contender for the post and the announcement is expected at any time from now after the meeting of the BJP legislature party is over.
The meeting began this afternoon in presence of the central observers Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and party national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav at Lokbhavan here. The meeting is still going on at the time of filing of this report.
BJP vice-president Om Mathur, State party chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and other senior party leaders are also attending the meeting.
The new chief minister and his cabinet colleagues will be sworn in on Sunday.
Pooh-poohing media reports about the possible names, Naidu, earlier in the morning, said that they were all ‘mere speculations’ as the leader of the legislature party will be elected at by the newly elected MLAs of the party.
Speaking to media after his arrival in Lucknow Saturday morning, Naidu said, “The reports about probable CM contenders is media speculation. The final decision would be taken in the meeting,” he said.
The central observers will most likely inform the MLAs about the BJP top brass’ choice to be endorsed at the meeting on Saturday.
Names of union minister Manoj Sinha, Keshav Prasad Maurya, Dinesh Sharma and others were speculated by the media but all these heavyweights have withdrawn from the race. The new incumbent is scheduled to take the oath of the office and secrecy on Sunday.
With the BJP leadership often springing a surprise with its choice of state leaders like Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana, Vijay Rupani in Gujarat and now Trivendra Singh Rawat in Uttarakhand, sources have said that a relatively lesser known leader cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, party leaders said that invitation for Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony has been sent to all BJP CMs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will also attend the ceremony.
According to the Raj Bhavan, the timing of the ceremony has been advanced, and it is now likely to be held at 2.15 p.m. on Sunday.
The BJP top brass has taken its time to decide on the U.P. Chief Minister after results were declared on March 11, 2017.
Sources said the party is extra cautious as it is returning to power in Uttar Pradesh after a 15-year hiatus.
Moreover, in view of Lok Sabha election in 2019, the BJP cannot afford to take any wrong decision, said some party insiders when asked about the delay in declaring the CM choice.
After a stupendous win in the Assembly election, the party can ill afford to lower its guard. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha and is extremely important in the BJP’s scheme of things.