Though more than two years are left for Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, supporters of BJP leaders have started an aggressive online campaign for their choice of chief ministerial candidate.
Enthusiastic over BJP's thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections this year, supporters and "fans" are trying to reach out to the cyber community to promote leaders of their liking as the next CM of the state on social networking sites, though the BJP has distanced itself from such kind of campaigns.
Most of these leaders, who are garnering support in the virtual world, are offsprings of prominent BJP leaders including Home Minister Rajnath Singh's son Pankaj, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi's son Varun and former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh's son Rajveer .
Other prominent names are -- state BJP president Laxmi Kant Bajpai and MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath. A Facebook page dedicated to Pankaj, who is also the state general secretary of BJP, has been created by "CM for UP fans club" and has a friend list of more than 4,000 people.
The BJP leader, however, said he was not in favour of such kind of campaigning. "I appeal to all such enthusiastic supporters that instead of projecting a single person they should propagate the nationalist ideology of the party," Pankaj told PTI.
Another leader who has a page dedicated to him on the social networking website is Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi. The page, created by a group which claims itself to be 'Varun Gandhi Youth Brigade', has been promoting the national secretary as the next Chief Minister.
Incidentally, Maneka had recently said in Pilibhit that UP would have benefited had there been a BJP-led government in the state with Varun as its chief minister.
"It would have been better had there been our government in the state then we would have got work done authoritatively.
It would have been even better if the government would have been run by Varun, in that case Pilibhit should have benefited most," she had said during a meeting in Takia village.
On projecting Varun as the state's chief ministerial candidate, Maneka said, "It is a matter of future". Till recently a page projecting state president Bajpai was also trending on Facebook.
The page, which carried a picture of Bajpai on a scooter along with a slogan 'for CM UP', was removed after the state party president objected to it and wrote a letter to SSP Lucknow in its regard.
Stating that he had no connection with the page, Bajpai demanded a probe by cyber crime cell.
BJP too has distanced itself from all such "fan pages", saying the leaders in whose name these pages were being created had nothing to do with them and in most cases they were not even aware about them.
"Most of these pages have been created by the fans and it has nothing to do either with the party or the leader in whose name it has been created," BJP spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.
"The party has its own culture where such decisions are taken by the high command and parliamentary board. No person can individually project himself for a post. The final call has to be taken by the high command," he added.