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U.P. Lok Sabha by polls: Gorakhpur, Phulpur in limelight again

Political rivals are eyeing it as an opportunity to upset the BJP’s apple cart in the State ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Shah with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Lucknow.
A file picture of BJP president Amit Shah with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Lucknow. | Photo : PTI

Focus is back on Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya resigned as MPs from the parliamentary constituencies on their election to the Legislative Council.

While a confident BJP is claiming that it would not only “retain,” but also improve its “victory margin” in both the seats, political rivals are eyeing it as an opportunity to upset its apple cart in the State ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP and its allies had romped home in the 2017 Assembly elections bagging an overwhelming 325 out of 403 seats.

According to party insiders, both seats are equally important for the BJP. Gorakhpur has been a party bastion since 1991 while the party made its debut in the Phulpur parliamentary seat — once considered as the pocket borough of the Congress — only in 2014 when Mr. Maurya won the seat.

“The party will not only retain both Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, but also improve its victory margin in the bye-elections which will be held for both the parliamentary constituencies,” U.P. BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said.

He said through various programmes organised by the party, there was a direct communication with the public.

“People of the State are being informed about the achievements of the Central government in past three years, and also about the work done in a short span of six months by the Uttar Pradesh government,” Mr. Tripathi said.

On the Opposition and other rival parties eyeing the bypolls to upset BJP’s calculations, he said, “The entire Opposition is clueless and scattered. We will win both the parliamentary seats banking on the achievements of the party and the hardwork of our party workers.”

On September 23, while addressing the Samajwadi Party’s State convention held in Lucknow, its national president Akhilesh Yadav said, “Lok Sabha bypolls will be held in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. If results of the elections are in our favour, it will give a message not only for 2019 [Lok Sabha polls], but also for 2022 [Assembly polls].”

On the BJP’s claims, U.P. Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said, “The wave of change will begin from Gorakhpur itself [in the bypolls]. The people have seen the three years’ performance of the Centre and six months of the U.P. government. They want change. We are confident of snatching victory in the Lok Sabha bypolls.”

The parliamentary constituency of Phulpur has been represented by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Congress leader Vijay Lakshmi Pandit.

In 2014, Mr. Maurya bagged 5,03,564 votes (52.43% of votes polled) to give the BJP its maiden victory in the parliamentary constituency, which was earlier also represented by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Mr. Adityanath had started his winning streak in Gorakhpur seat from 1998 and he emerged victorious again in the 2014 elections by securing 5,39,127 votes (51.80% of the votes polled).

Originally Published: thehindu.com
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