Crucial bypolls to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, vacated by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, will be held on March 11, the Election Commission announced today. The bypoll to the Araria Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, which fell vacant following the demise of RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin, will also be held on the same date, the poll panel said in a statement. Adityanath and Maurya had resigned as Lok Sabha members in September last year after being elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council. While Adityanath is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Maurya is one of the two the deputy chief ministers. Dinesh Sharma is the other deputy CM. There has been speculation that BSP chief Mayawati, who had last year resigned from the Rajya Sabha, may contest the Phulpur bypoll. But so far, there has been no official word from the party.
The bypolls in UP will be a test for Adityanath as the results will be seen as a reflection on his government’s popularity. The Bihar bypoll has assumed an extra significance as this will be first election after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar jettisoned the Congress and the RJD, and joined hands with the BJP. It will also be seen as a prestige issue for RJD chief Lalu Prasad as questions have been raised on his political future after his sentencing in fodder scam cases.
The RJD had won the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls despite the “Modi wave”. The notification for the three byelections will be issued on February 13, beginning the process of filing nomination papers. February 20 is the last date of filing papers to contest the elections. While scrutiny of papers will be held on February 21, candidates can withdraw from electoral battle till February 23. While votes will be cast on March 11, counting will be held on March 14, the EC said.