BJP announces U.P. bypoll list; ex-student leaders in line-up - Hindustan Times
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BJP announces U.P. bypoll list; ex-student leaders in line-up

By, Lucknow
Apr 16, 2024 08:31 PM IST

OP Shrivastava (Lucknow-East), former Lucknow University student leaders Shailendra Singh ‘Shailu’ (Gainsari) and Arvind Singh (Dadraul), and Shravan Gond (Duddhi reserved) will be contesting from the BJP

The BJP on Tuesday named its candidates for four assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh where bypolls will be held simultaneously with the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The list of bypoll candidates also reflected on the party’s larger plan for the Lok Sabha battles.

Of the four bypoll picks, it is Shrivastava’s candidature that is getting the most attention. (For representation)
Of the four bypoll picks, it is Shrivastava’s candidature that is getting the most attention. (For representation)

Of the four bypoll picks—OP Shrivastava (Lucknow-East), former Lucknow University student leaders Shailendra Singh ‘Shailu’ (Gainsari) and Arvind Singh (Dadraul), and Shravan Gond (Duddhi reserved)—it was Shrivastava’s candidature that got the most attention and for a reason.

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Kayasthas, people from an upper caste community, who have backed the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) over the past successive polls but often complained about inadequate representation in the government and in candidate selection.

In 2020, even hoardings were put up in the state capital accusing the BJP of neglecting the community, which currently has a lone representation in Yogi 2.0 (Arun Kumar, minister of state, independent charge, forest and environment). Three other lawmakers Saurabh Srivastava (Varanasi, Cantt), Siddharth Nath Singh (Prayagraj west) and Akash Saxena (Rampur) make up for community’s representation in the UP assembly.

“It’s true that naming a Kayastha candidate will surely help ensure a bigger win for defence minister and BJP veteran Rajnath Singh, who is seeking a third consecutive win from Lucknow Lok Sabha seat. Lucknow has a sizeable number of Kayastha voters,” a BJP leader said.

Shrivastava, a member of the state working committee, is a former treasurer of the Awadh region and coordinator of the lifetime membership fee wing of the party.

Unlike Lucknow (east), where BJP has been nearly invincible – more reason why Shrivastava being fielded becomes important – in other assembly seats the BJP hasn’t been as dominant.

In Balrampur’s Gainsari, for instance, Shailu, a former lawmaker, had lost to SP’s Shiv Pratap Yadav, whose demise set the stage for the bypoll. In Shahjahanpur’s Dadraul, sitting BJP lawmaker Manvendra Singh’s demise led to the party fielding his son. The BJP opened its account on the seat only in 2017. Before that, the Congress, the SP and the BSP called the shots there. In Duddhi reserved seat, bypolls were caused due to the disqualification of BJP’s Ramdular Gond after his conviction in a rape case. Ramdular won the 2022 UP polls with a slender margin, but before his win, the seat was with the Samajwadi Party. Barring Lucknow (east), the SP has named candidates for all other assembly bypoll seats.

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