SP main rival in UP polls, not decided on CM face: Amit Shah

New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday said the party has not decided if it will project a chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls next year and that the ruling Samajwadi Party would be the BJP's main rival. Shah said he was confident of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming to power in Uttar Pradesh, adding that "maladministration" of the Samajwadi Party government will be the main issue in the assembly elections. "The SP is the main challenge in Uttar Pradesh as it has strong base and its cadre is also comparatively staunch," Shah told select group of journalists here at a function to mark two years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. Asked if the party has decided to replicate in Uttar Pradesh its model of projecting a chief ministerial as done in Assam, Shah said "we have not decided what to do." Asked if the option was open, he said "Yes." Following its debacle in Bihar assembly polls last year, the BJP projected a chief ministerial candidate in Assam and won the polls along with its allies.  Uttar Pradesh is expected to go for assembly polls early next year and there has been speculation if the BJP will project a chief ministerial candidate.  Asked about the Ram temple issue, Shah said that it figures in the party's manifesto.  On Punjab, which will also go for polls early next year, Shah said the party will stick to its alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal. Without naming Aam Aadmi Party, which is seen as a contender for power in the state, he said "there is hype visible."  "The spread at the grassroots, this also matters. Punjab is not Delhi. It matters whether the party has a base," he said.  Answering a question on Bihar, he said the party has "done a lot of analysis" over its performance in the state.  Asked if there will be change of leadership in Gujarat, he said the issue had not been discussed.  "Whenever elections are held in the state, the BJP will win with thumping majority," he stressed.  Shah said he was "most happy" over the party's performance in the Kerala assembly polls where the party entered the assembly for the first time.  He said the party will contest the next polls to form the government in the state.  On the party's victory in Assam, he said it was a "big ideological achievement."  "We are getting emotional phones from party workers," he said. Asked if the Congress or a third front will be the main rival of the BJP in the next general elections, Shah said that "the situation was not yet clear." "Congress is getting squeezed," he added.  Answering a query, he said that party's slogan of Congress-free India meant ridding the administration of the ills of the past.  Asked about the major challenge he faces, Shah said that keeping up accomplishments was itself a very big challenge.