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India: BJP MLAs to meet in Lucknow today to elect Uttar Pradesh chief minister

Prime Minister Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah will attend the new chief minister's swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. Photograph: (AFP)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 18, 2017, 05.02 AM (IST)

The Bharatiya Janata Party is set to hold a legislature meet today to elect the new chief minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

All MLAs will meet at 5 pm in the state’s capital Lucknow to decide the pick, news agency ANI reported. 

Union minister Venkaiah Naidu and BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav will attend the meeting as the party's central observers, ANI reported.

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The swearing-in ceremony of the new CM is scheduled to be held at the Kanshiram memorial ground tomorrow, ANI reported.

Prime Minister Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah will also attend the swearing-in.

The BJP won a whopping 324 seats out of 403 in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

According to a report in DNA, a majority of party leaders and 312 MLAs say that the selection has already been made by Modi and Shah, with the consent of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and the MLAs feel that they will only have to stamp their approval on that name.

A senior state BJP leader told DNA that the name of the leader has already been finalised.

Most of the party leaders are betting on minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha, DNA reported.

"He is, no doubt, an able administrator with a clean image and proven track record. The only thing going against him is that he is not a member of either House in the state and the PM may not like to lose a precious Lok Sabha member when there are a few other leaders who can be the chief minister," a party leader told DNA. 

Some legislators are also speculating the name of Suresh Kumar Khanna, the eight-time MLA from Shahjahanpur district.

"He may emerge as a dark horse. He is a senior party legislator with a vast experience in assembly affairs," an MLA from Bareilly told DNA.

Other names doing the rounds are those of Dr Dinesh Sharma, party national vice-president and Lucknow Mayor, and Satish Mahana, a senior legislator from Kanpur, DNA reported. 

The names of party state president Keshav Prasad Maurya and union home minister Rajnath Singh did not figure much after Shah almost ruled out their names.

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Mahant Yogi Adityanath, firebrand MP from Gorakhpur,  is on top of the list of influential leaders eyeing the post, DNA reported.

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(WION with inputs from ANI and DNA)
 

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