By fielding Yogi from Gorakhpur, BJP seeks to consolidate in east UP

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath says party will return to power in Uttar Pradesh with overwhelming majority
Celebration in Gorakhpur after chief minister Yogi Adityanath was declared as candidate from Gorakhpur Urban seat. (Sourced)
Celebration in Gorakhpur after chief minister Yogi Adityanath was declared as candidate from Gorakhpur Urban seat. (Sourced)
Updated on Jan 16, 2022 04:05 AM IST
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By, Lucknow

Setting all speculation to rest, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to field chief minister Yogi Adityanath from his home turf the Gorakhpur urban seat, a party stronghold, in the assembly election.

Earlier, BJP leaders had urged party leadership to field Yogi from Ayodhya or Mathura assembly seats. But the party’s Uttar Pradesh election in-charge and Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday announced that Yogi Adityanath will contest the election from the Gorakhpur urban assembly seat. Besides having won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat five times, Yogi is also head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur.

This would be the first occasion when Adityanath will be contesting the UP assembly elections.

The Gorakhpur urban seat will go to vote in the sixth phase on March 3. BJP’s Radha Mohan Das Agarwal is representing the seat at present, having won it four times.

After the announcement, Yogi Adityanath thanked the BJP leadership for choosing him as the candidate from the Gorakhpur urban seat. He exuded confidence that the party would return to power in the state with an “overwhelming majority.”

“I express thanks to the Prime Minister, national president and BJP Parliamentary Board who decided to field me from Gorakhpur urban seat in the current assembly election,” Adityanath said to reporters after inspecting the BRD Medical College in his first reaction after the declaration of his name.

“With the help of party workers and present and past representatives, the BJP will win not only in Gorakhpur, but in the entire state and form its government again with an overwhelming majority,” he said.

“It is before everybody as to how the BJP has worked effectively on the issues of nationalism, development and good governance. BJP will once again form its government in the state with its core mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” Adityanath said.

Gorakhpur is in eastern Uttar Pradesh that accounts for 160 assembly seats. The state assembly has 403 seats.

In 2017, the BJP had won 115 out of these 160 seats, the Samajwadi Party 17, the Bahujan Samaj Party 14 and the Congress two and other parties/ independents 12.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha seat Varanasi is also in east UP.

Riding on the Modi and Yogi charisma, the BJP hopes to maintain its hold in the region where its might is being challenged by a resurgent Samajwadi Party (SP).

Yogi Adityanath, who became a member of the Uttar Pradesh legislative council after assuming the office of chief minister in March 2017, had earlier said that it was for the party to take a decision on his contesting the assembly election.

Gorakhpur has been a BJP bastion for decades, especially since the Ram temple movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yogi Adityanath won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat for five consecutive terms in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. This Hindutva stronghold remained invincible even when the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were dominant.

Banking on the Yogi factor, the BJP hopes to consolidate its position in Gorakhpur division and retain the assembly seats that it had wrested from the SP and the BSP in the 2017 assembly election in Gorakhpur as well as the neighbouring districts of Kushinagar, Deoria, Maharajganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharthnagar and Balrampur.

Motilal Memorial Society general secretary Rajesh Singh said by fielding Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur urban, the BJP will also strengthen its position on the adjacent seats.

As chief minister, Yogi Adityanath has launched a slew of development projects in the Gorakhpur region and the BJP will get the benefits of these schemes in the assembly election, he said.

Harsh Sinha, professor at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gorakhpur University, said Yogi Adityanath gels well with the Gorakhpur region that has been converted into a strong Hindutva fort by the BJP. The BJP has been winning the Gorakhpur seat since 1989. In the 2002 assembly election, Yogi Adityanath rebelled against the BJP and fielded Dr Radha Mohan Dad Agarwal on the Hindu Mahasabha ticket. Agarwal went on to defeat the BJP candidate Shiv Pratap Shukla. Later, differences between Yogi and the BJP leadership were resolved. Since then, the BJP has been winning the Gorakhpur urban seat, he said.

A BJP leader Dharmesh Singh said Yogi Adityanath will campaign for the BJP across Uttar Pradesh and the party wished to field him from a safe seat so that he can go to other constituencies.

By fielding the chief minister from his political and spiritual home turf, the BJP wished to give a message to voters that east UP that will get top priority in its government, Dharmesh Singh said.

Supporters celebrate in Gorakhpur

Gorakhpur Supporters began celebrations soon after receiving news of the BJP fielding chief minister Yogi Adityanath from the Gorakhpur urban seat. They took to the streets with BJP flags, beat drums, shouted slogans and distributed sweets. Many of them said Yogi would win a one-sided poll battle in Gorakhpur.

“Votwa jhari ki giri. Maharajji ektarfa jityein. (There will be a shower of votes. Yogi will emerge victorious in a one-sided contest,” BJP’s Gorakhpur MP and actor Ravi Kishan said in Bhojpuri while reacting to the development.

Earlier, chief minister Yogi Adityanath offered khichdi at the Gorakhnath temple in his capacity as head priest of the temple, a prominent centre of faith for lakhs of Hindus in the region.

He also visited BRD Medical College where he inspected the oxygen plant, Covid wards and labs. He instructed doctors and officials to provide best possible treatment to patients.

“The third wave is not as serious as the second wave, but it’s important to remain alert. Ninety-nine percent of the cases are cured in home isolation and do not require hospitalisation,” Yogi said.

Based on the experience of the first and the second wave, the government has effectively managed the third wave, he said.

The Covid testing capacity of UP stood at four lakhs per day while 1.80 lakh Covid beds are available and 558 oxygen plants are functional across the state to deal with any situation, he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rajesh Kumar Singh is a special correspondent at HT Lucknow. He covers State Home Department, State Police, Central police agencies,BSP, Health Department, UP Chief Electoral Officer, Irrigation Department, Mining and, Lokayukta.

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Monday, May 23, 2022