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Nirahua, Ravi Kishan meet CM Yogi, may get BJP tickets

Nirahua, who joined the BJP within hours of his meeting Adityanath in Lucknow, is likely to be fielded as the party candidate from Azamgarh against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 28, 2019 10:33 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
ravi kishan BJP,Nirahua BJP,nirhaua BJP
Ravi Kishan and Nirahua with CM Yogi Adityanath(HT)

Bhojpuri superstar Dinesh Lal Yadav aka ‘Nirahua’ along with Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen met chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday morning, fuelling speculation about the BJP fielding the two from key constituencies in eastern UP.

The BJP has already fielded actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada from Rampur against Samajwadi Party heavyweight Azam Khan.

Nirahua, who joined the BJP within hours of his meeting Adityanath in Lucknow, is likely to be fielded as the party candidate from Azamgarh against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

While Ravi Kishen is a Brahmin whose forefathers hailed from Gorakhpur, Nirahua is a Yadav. The two castes, BJP leaders say, are influential in Gorakhpur and Azamgarh.

“Akhileshji is a big leader. If the party gives me a ticket, it is going to be nice political battle,” Nirahua told HT.

“Yes, the chief minister wants me to contest elections,” he added, revealing that the party planned to exert pressure in Azamgarh where the BJP expelled a leader only recently for praising the Samajwadi Party chief.

“We will add Azamgarh and Amethi (Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s constituency) to our 2014 tally this time,” said BJP leader Navin Srivastava.

The party is also expected to schedule a rally by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Azamgarh. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, too, is expected to visit the SP chief’s constituency to drum up support for the party.

The Samajwadi Party said anyone, including actors and performers, was free to contest elections, but Nirahua would lose his deposit against Akhilesh Yadav.

“Leaders aren’t born in a day. They come after struggle and hardwork and gain acceptability from the masses with their vision. Akhileshji is a vikas purush, a development-oriented leader in the truest sense and we are sure that Nirahua would lose his deposit against the SP chief,” Samajwadi Party spokesman Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said.

The party is also considering fielding actor Ravi Kishen from Gorakhpur, though Jaunpur is also among the constituencies from where he could contest, say BJP leaders.

“Of course, I am lucky that Yogiji offered me a chance (to contest) from UP. The situation is favourable and the country is all set to re-elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As far as the alliance is concerned, I just want to say that I have never shied away from hard work,” Ravi Kishen said.

Barely a few days back, Ravi Kishen who is already in the BJP, had released a video praising PM Modi.

“Ravi Kishen would be ideally suited as a consensus candidate who neither represents the temple or the Gorakhnath Mutt of which Yogi Adityanath is the head priest, nor the party but has the blessings of both,” a BJP leader said, explaining the significance of Adityanath meeting both Ravi Kishen and Nirahua in Lucknow earlier in the day.

Upendra Dutt Shukla, the candidate that the BJP had put up in the by-polls could be accommodated in some other seat or given some other responsibility, BJP leaders said.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 10:33 IST