- Dinesh Sharma frontrunner to be Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister
- National executive will decide who will be chief minister: Dinesh Sharma
- He was in-charge of BJP's membership drive in India
In a congested bylane of old Lucknow where his home is, Dinesh Sharma, 53, celebrated an early Holi with colours, laddoos and paneer pakodas as the BJP's big victory was confirmed. He says he is not holding his breath for the announcement on who will hold the top post. "There is no question of being the face of the party, I am just a worker. The national executive will decide who will be chief minister," said Lucknow's mayor for many years.
Outside his home, Dinesh Sharma forbade supporters to shout slogans that mentioned him, insisting that they must only praise PM Modi and party chief Amit Shah.
Other CM probables are also waiting for word from Delhi. "The BJP Parliamentary Board will take a decision on he Chief Ministerial candidate and we will accept that," said Yogi Adityanath, BJP member of Parliament and head priest of the famous Gorakhnath temple in UP's Gorakhpur. The Yogi's supporters have been pushing for the 46 year old to be made Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
Union minsters Manoj Sinha and Mahesh Sharma and senior BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh are also said to be on the list, as is the state's BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Dinesh Sharma, known to be extremely close to both PM Modi and Amit Shah, ticks several boxes for the BJP. The 53-year-old professor of commerce at Lucknow University is non-controversial and is known as an affable person who gets along with everyone. He is from the BJP's crucial "upper caste" support base and his appointment will help the party balance the appointment as state chief of Mr Maurya, an Other Backward Castes (OBC) leader.
Mr Sharma, who was also in charge of BJP campaign in Gujarat, is also said to be backed by the BJP's ideological mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
He took the number of BJP members in UP from about a crore to more than 11 crores, said to be a ig reason for his high stock with the party leadership.
The BJP did not project a presumptive chief minister in UP, seeking votes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development agenda and in his name. The strategy, questioned by many, has brought the party rich dividends today.
The BJP's highest decision making body the parliamentary board will meet this evening to take stock of the election results and decide on chief ministers in the states it has won.