Lok Sabha Elections 2019: BJP under pressure from cadre, allies for 11 remaining seats in UP
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has declared its candidates in 69 out of 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, is under pressure from its cadre and allies who are staking claim to the remaining 11 seats in the state.
The party has already fielded new entrants Jaya Prada in Rampur, Dinesh Yadav aka Nirahua in Azamgarh, VP Saroj in Maachlishahr and allies in a few others. It has given Mirzapur and Sonebhadra to its ally Apna Dal. Outsiders like Jai Prakash Rawat, Ashok Rawat and Dinesh Pratap Singh have been fielded in Hardoi, Misrikh and Rae Bareli respectively.
The BJP cadre believes that Samajwadi Party MP Praveen Nishad, who joined the party on Thursday, will get a seat.
“As the sitting MP, he would surely be hoping to contest from Gorakhpur but there is a healthy probability of the party fielding him from Bhadohi which has a sizeable population of the riverine (Nishad) community to which Pravin belongs,” a BJP leader said.
The name of the candidate from Gorakhpur, the Lok Sabha seat which chief minister Yogi Adityanath represented for a record five terms since 1998, is still under wraps. Last minute entrants to the BJP, including former Samajwadi Party minister Jamuna Nishad’s wife Rajmati, and her son Amrendra Nishad are being considered for the seat.
In Jaunpur, BJP’s UP spokesman Manish Shukla has staked claim though Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen is also in the reckoning. Ravi Kishen, a Brahmin who originally belongs to Gorakhpur, has already confirmed that chief minister Yogi Adityanath wanted him to contest the election. He was earlier considered as a compromise candidate for the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat.
As “Yogi’s pick”, he would automatically balance equations within the party and the Gorakhnath Mutt of which Yogi is the head priest, a party insider said.
The BJP’s other UP ally, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) is also eyeing Jaunpur, along with Ghosi. Party leaders indicate that having delayed finalising the decision on the SBSP, the BJP leadership may be considering not giving any LS seat to this ally, which has often been critical of the ruling party.
In Allahabad, the BJP has fielded cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, the sitting MLA from Lucknow Cantonment. She had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Lucknow on a Congress ticket before defecting to the BJP in 2016 just a few months before the 2017 assembly polls.
In Pratapgarh too, BJP is battling pressure from allies. A breakaway faction of Apna Dal led by sitting Pratapgarh MP Kunwar Haribansh Singh, who is also head of the Kshatriya Mahasabha, has staked claim to the seat.
Then, there is the Deoria seat currently represented by veteran Kalraj Mishra, who has refused to contest this time. Phulpur, too, is up for grabs. Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had won the seat for the first time for the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The party lost the seat in the 2018 by-poll after Maurya resigned as MP.
The BJP is also yet to name candidates from Jhansi, Ghosi and Sant Kabir Nagar. Sitting MP and union minister Uma Bharti has refused to recontest from Jhansi. In Sant Kabir Nagar, sitting MP Sharad Tripathi is on a sticky wicket after being caught on camera attacking a party lawmaker with his footwear.