Why is BJP reticent in naming CM candidate in Haryana?

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Amit Shah's political acumen is at test in Haryana.
As the crucial assembly polls are nearing in Haryana, the battle amongst political parties is gaining momentum. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi's latest speech in Kaithal, while inaugurating a National Highway project, has intensified the pitch in the poll bound state.

While some parties have started releasing their list of candidates while others have started making scathing attacking each other to gain edge over their rivals.

In coming days, ruling Congress and its key rival the BJP are going to indulge in more pitched battles to score brownie points over another. With BJP gaining an edge over ruling Hooda dispensation with the help of its poster boys Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the Congress has upped the ante against the former by raising the issue of chief ministerial candidate.

By picking up the issue of BJP's chief ministerial candidate the Congress has now pricked the BJP's jugular vein. The party has for the first time come on the front foot to put its opponent BJP on the mat. With this move ruling Congress has trapped the BJP in its own trap.

What had happened during LS polls campaign?

In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP named Narendra Modi its prime ministerial candidate and asked the Congress to name its candidate for the PM's post. The Congress did not oblige and despite projecting Rahul Gandhi as its most dynamic leader didn't specify its vice president as prime ministerial candidate. Now, exactly the reverse is happening in Haryana.

With elections to Haryana's 90-member Assembly to be held within two months, it is the ruling Congress which has dared the BJP to name its candidate for the chief minister's post.

"I challenge the BJP to name its candidate for the chief minister's post against Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The BJP has no base in the state and it has no leadership. They are only trying to mislead people," young Congress MP from Rohtak Deepinder Singh Hooda, son of the chief minister, tells people at election rallies.

But the incumbent Congress government in the state is staring at major poll rout. Despite lack of a mass base anywhere in Haryana the BJP managed to win seven out of ten Lok Sabha seats from the state. And pre-poll surveys are also predicting that the BJP will emerge as the largest party and can even form a government on its own. But, the party's central leadership has yet not figured out whom to project as its face and CM candidate in the state.

Options available with the BJP

The party has a few names that it can entrust the responsibility of the state's leadership. Leaders like Captain Abhimanyu, party's former national spokesperson and party's known face in Haryana, Rao Inderjeet Singh, a Union Minister in Narendra Modi's cabinet, and Birender Singh, former CWC member and minister during previous Congress government in state, are three big names which are doing the rounds.

Among these three Birender Singh is the senior most leader, who recently joined the BJP, is a popular Jat face in the state. Experts feel that with his penetration amongst Jat voters Singh has the potential of turning the fortune completely into BJP's favour.

Abhimanyu has not found a place in Amit Shah's recent team this hints that the party has chosen something bigger for its most popular name in Haryana.

BJP's inhibition in Haryana

But it seems the BJP fears that an early announcement would anger other big leaders in the state and that would hamper its prospects in the state where it is eyeing victory in Haryana for the first time on its own. Hence, the party is treading its path cautiously the way it did during Delhi assembly polls, last year, when Harsh Vardhan was named CM candidate.

The party's thumping win in the general elections was solely due to the Narendra Modi wave and it cannot depend entirely on its poster boy and master strategist Amit Shah to script yet another history as there is a difference between union and state polls. Shah must find quick solution to this solution else it will be too late for the party.

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