Gorakhpur or Ayodhya? Shah likely to finalise seat that Yogi will contest
While the prospects of Yogi Adityanath contesting the imminent assembly by-poll from Gorakhpur are high, a section in the BJP also wants the CM, who is the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple, to contest from Ayodhya to give an unequivocal message about the UP government’s Hindutva push.lucknow Updated: Jul 22, 2017 17:07 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is expected to finalise the assembly seat from where Chief minister Yogi Adityanath could contest once he resigns as Gorakhpur MP after casting his vote for the NDA’s vice presidential nominee Venkaiah Naidu on August 5.
While the prospects of Yogi Adityanath contesting the imminent assembly by-poll from Gorakhpur are high, a section in the BJP also wants the CM, who is the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple, to contest from Ayodhya to give an unequivocal message about the UP government’s Hindutva push.
The BJP’s Ayodhya MLA Ved Prakash Gupta has said that he will be “happy” to vacate the seat for Yogi Adityanath, a statement that several BJP lawmakers from Gorakhpur have made as well.
During his Lucknow visit, likely from July 29, Shah is also expected to decide who could contest from Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat that Yogi made his own since 1998.
“The party will obviously like to take him into confidence on who they intend to replace him with. The decision is likely to be arrived at after several rounds of consultations. The issue could come up for discussion during Shah’s visit who would be here on a three-day visit to Lucknow as part of his India-connect tour,” a party source said.
The BJP chief will also decide whether deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the MP from Phulpur, will quit his Lok Sabha seat or be elevated to the Centre. There is a view that instead of making Maurya give up Phulpur seat that the BJP won for the first time in 2014, the party could elevate him to the Centre, possibly as a union minister.
This, some party leaders believe, would also help in puncturing any opposition plan to prop up a joint candidate in Phulpur in the by-poll. Already, names of Krishna Patel, the Kurmi politician from the anti-BJP faction of the Apna Dal, or even BSP chief Mayawati are doing rounds as a possible joint opposition candidate from Phulpur.
“It would be for Shah to decide where Maurya, the OBC face of the party in UP, would be best suited -- Uttar Prades or Centre,” a BJP source said.
The party is also in touch with some opposition lawmakers, including those from the BSP, the SP and the Congress, to “explore options”.
“All options that need to be explored will be explored,” a senior leader said when asked if the party’s plan also included convincing opposition MLAs to vacate seats for BJP ministers to contest. That’s because, apart from Yogi and Maurya, three other ministers, including other deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, Swatantra Dev Singh (an OBC) and Mohsin Raza (the Yogi government’s lone Muslim face) too are required to be elected to either house of the UP legislature by September 18; the six month deadline by which ministers are constitutionally required to get themselves elected to either house.
The BJP still appears undecided on the seat from where Sharma could get to contest. The buzz is that the party has even got in touch with some lawmakers if they will be willing to vacate their seat for Sharma. This includes a lawmaker who shifted to the BJP from the Congress in 2014 and subsequently became an MLA in the 2017 UP polls. The BJP’s plan on Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza is still unclear. Party sources say there would be some clarity only after Shah’s visit.