Manoj Sinha visits Varanasi temples

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Lucknow: Amid speculations that he might become the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Manoj Sinha, the Communications Minister, visited many temples in Varanasi on Saturday, officials said.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader greeted onlookers and supporters as he walked to the Kaal Bhairav temple.

After spending some time there, he went to the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple and offered prayers at the sanctum sanctorum.

Surrounded by elite commandoes and local policemen, the minister however refused to speak on any issue. Sinha then left for the Sankatmochan temple.

Sinha is said to be a “front runner” in the race for the state’s 32nd Chief Minister, sources said.

Although there was no official protocol issued for Sinha to visit Lucknow, a senior BJP leader told IANS: “If needed he would be flown in a special chartered plane to the state capital”.

The 312 newly elected BJP lawmakers are set to meet at the Lok Bhawan – new secretariat building built by outgoing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening where the leader of the legislature party will be elected.

Senior central BJP leaders M. Venkaiah Naidu, Bhupendra Yadav, Om Mathur and Sunil Bansal will be present at the meet.

The swearing-in will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and many other top central ministers.

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