Uttar Pradesh by-elections: In Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur, BJP fields first non-priest face in 3 decades

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Noida | Updated: February 19, 2018 3:49:13 PM

Gorakhpur by-election 2018: For the first time in almost three decades, the BJP nominee for the Gorakhpur by-election is not a priest from the Gorakhnath temple.

yogi adityanathYogi Adityanath represented Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms in Lok Sabha. (PTI)

Gorakhpur by-election 2018: For the first time in almost three decades, the BJP nominee for the Gorakhpur by-election is not a priest from the Gorakhnath temple. The by-election for this Lok Sabha seat was necessitated after BJP MP Yogi Adityanath resigned to become Uttar Pradesh chief minister last year. For the polls to be held on March 11, BJP has declared chief of local BJP unit, Upendra Shukla, as its candidate.

Shukla is the Gorakhpur region president of the saffron party. He had earlier served as Gorakhpur district unit president of the BJP. The Lok Sabha constituency was represented by the head priest of Gorakhnath temple for the last 29 years.

Adityanath, who is also the head priest of Gorakhnath temple, himself represented the Lok Sabha for five terms. His guru Mahant Avaidyanath was elected from Gorakhpur seat to the Lower House of Parliament in 1989 as a Hindu Mahasabha candidate. In 1991 and 1998, Avaidyanath was elected to the Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket. Later his disciple Yogi Adityanath won from Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms defeating his opponents in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.

In the last three decades, the BJP has relied on the Gorakhnath temple for selection of the candidate. The temple has a huge follower base in the eastern Uttar Pradesh and its head priest enjoy huge clout as well. Now that Adityanath himself if chief minister of the state, the choice of Shukla is being seen as a bid to woo brahmin voters of in the region. Brahmins are the largest Upper Caster community in the state. They have also traditionally supported the BJP.

Phulpur By-election 2018

The BJP on Monday also declared the name of its candidate for the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency, which fell vacant after the resignation of Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is now a deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP candidate for Phulpur Lok Sabha by-election in former Varanasi mayor Kaushalendra Singh Patel – a member of the OBC community. He is the BJP state secretary for the second consecutive term and worked earlier in the ABVP, the student wing of RSS.

Bihar bypolls

Meanwhile, the BJP also announced candidates for the Araria Lok Sabha and Bhabua assembly by-elections in Bihar. While Pradeep Singh, a former MP from Araria, is BJP nominee for the By-election in Araria, Rinki Pandey is the party’s candidate for Bhabua assembly by-election. The by-elections in Bihar will also take place on March 11.

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