New Delhi: The BJP has declared that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, along with ministers Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza, will contest the by-poll for the UP Legislative Council. Akhilesh Yadav, the previous Chief Minister, was also a Member of the Legislative Council.
A press release from the BJP Central Election Committee said, “The BJP Central Election Committee has decided the following names for the Bye-Elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council (MLC) by the Members of Legislative Assembly. Yogi Adityanath, Shri Keshav Prakash Maurya, Dr. Dinesh Sharma, Shri Swatantra Dev Singh, Shri Mohsin Raza.”
While Sharma was Mayor of Lucknow, Maurya will now have to vacate the prestigious Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency. This clears rumours that Maurya might join the Modi Cabinet and sets the stage for an electoral battle in Phulpur.
Similarly, a Lok Sabha by-poll in Gorakhpur, where Yogi Adityanath has been an MP for five consecutive terms. While challenging BJP in Gorakhpur will be a tough task for the opposition, this may also lead to some sort of alliance, upfront or tacit, between Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress.
Political corridors in Lucknow are now abuzz with speculations that BSP chief Mayawati may contest from the Phulpur seat in Allahabad. Both Yogi Adityanath and his deputy will have to assume membership of either legislative assembly or council within six months of taking charge.
After she walked out of the Rajya Sabha and quit, Mayawati dropped hints that she was not afraid to contest elections.
“I have been CM four times. I have contested and won Lok Sabha polls, I have won MLA elections. Whenever necessary I have got nominated to the Rajya Sabha.”
It is indeed a fact that BSP chief has not faced direct elections for almost a decade. When she became UP CM with an absolute majority in 2007, she opted nomination to the state legislative council. After losing to SP in 2012, Mayawati chose to enter the Rajya Sabha. Her term will end in April next year, and BSP now even does not have numbers to ensure the victory of even one candidate in biennial elections for the council of the states.
If she indeed decides to contest, Mayawati may be the joint candidate of the opposition SP, BSP and Congress. And the contest would lay the foundation for a grand alliance in UP before 2019 general elections. In many ways, it would also give shape to the anti-BJP front at the national level.