Opposition parties have set their eye on Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies after Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath and his deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya, resigned as MPs on their election to the Legislative Council.
Gorakhpur has been a BJP stronghold since early 90s, while the BJP was able to wrest Phulpur- a Congress bastion- in 2014 general elections, when the saffron party rode on the popularity crest of Narendra Modi to win 71 out of 80 parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh. While Yogi has represented Gorakhpur for five terms as MP since 1998, Phulpur has been represented by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Congress leader Vijay Lakshmi Pandit.
While the opposition parties may have suddenly become optimistic about their chances of winning these two seats, the BJP remains confident of retaining both constituencies. The party’s confidence largely emanates from its emphatic performance in this year’s assembly polls, when it won 325 out 403 seats.
“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,” UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi was quoted by PTI.
However, the opposition parties may hope that they may be able to highlight the alleged misgovernance under the Yogi government to sway the voters in their favour.
While addressing his party colleagues on Saturday, 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).”
UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh too remains confident of winning both the seats adding that the wave of change will begin from Gorakhpur, which was in news recently after more than 300 children died at a government hospital in one month alone.
There have also been increase in the incidents of communal clashes under the BJP government led by Yogi.
He told PTI, “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 UP government. They want change. We are confident of snatching victory in the Lok Sabha bypolls.”