In a move aimed at nipping at bud all speculations about whether Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will contest from Gorakhpur, which returned him to Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms, or Ayodhya, the BJP on Saturday officially declared Yogi as the party’s candidates from Gorakhpur for the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The announcement about Yogi Adityanath’s candidature came at a joint press conference here by Union Minister and BJP in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Dharmendra Pradhan and national general secretary in charge of party headquarters Arun Singh in which the party declared the list of candidates for the first and second phase of the polls in Uttar Pradesh.
For the first phase names of 57 candidates out of the total 58 and for the second phase a total of 48 of the total 55 seats were announced. Pradhan claim today’s list was ‘sarva samaveshi’ or all encompassing comprising candidates from all strata of the society and social and economic background.
Dharmendra Pradhan said 15 crore electorate of Uttar Pradesh were set to give their mandate for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda on the promise of getting the state rid of gundaraj under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s leadership. He claimed the BJP would come back to power in the coming elections with a margin of over 300 seats.
“We are sure that people will vote us to victory (in the UP polls) by over 300 seats,” Pradhan said. Only Yogi Adityanath and his deputy in the UP government Keshav Prasad Maurya’s names figure in the list of candidates for the 6th and 5th phase respectively of the assembly polls. The rest of the names for the two phases will be declared as the polls progress.
Pradhan said when Yogi Adityanath was informed about the party’s central election committee’s decision to field him from Gorakhpur he gladly accepted the offer saying he was ready to contest from any seat the party deemed fit. In response to a question he denied that because Yogi insisted on contesting from Gorakhpur the party agreed to his demand.
The party decided to field Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu assembly seat in Prayagraj district. The polling for Gorakhpur seat will take place on 3 March. For Yogi Adityanath who has never contested for assembly elections winning from Gorakhpur may as well turn out to be a turning point in his political career, political experts said here.
A section of top leadership reportedly wanted to field Yogi Adityanath from either Ayodhya or Mathura but finally decided to field him from Gorakhpur, it was learnt, in view of a reported decline in the BJP’s popularity in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, sources said.
Meanwhile, in a dig at the BJP’s decision to field Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur said, “I like that the BJP has already sent him (Adityanath) to Gorakhpur. Yogi should stay there…there is no need for him to come there (Ayodhya).”
Besides, the BJP has also to contend with brewing dissent within the party ahead of the coming polls which begins on 10 February. Recently, 10 of the party MLAs including three ministers in the Yogi government had resigned accusing the BJP of being indifferent to the plight of Dalit, backward, youth and farmers.