GORAKHPUR/NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first list of candidature “symbolises social justice”.
This is how Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reacted to the first list of 107 names that was released for the first and second phase of elections as he took a swipe at the Samajwadi Party’s list, accusing Akhilesh Yadav of throwing western Uttar Pradesh into communal fire with men-on-the-run or accused as its candidates in communally sensitive hotspots.
Dissing the allegations made by OBC leaders who recently quit the party and joined BJP on the pretext that the ruling party has not been fair to the socially backward citizens of the state and launching a counterattack, Yogi said: “Everyone who has seen the list has a feeling of self-satisfaction, the BJP party can be seen following the motto Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas,”
“But the coalition candidature list released by SP has been seen by everyone, in Kairana giving tickets to people who were responsible for the exodus of Hindu businessmen, giving tickets to rioters of Muzzafarnagar also giving tickets in Bulandshehr and Loni to history sheeters and criminals shows their character. By giving tickets to these people, that is their idea of social justice and it reflects on their candidature list,” Yogi pointed out.
He was addressing a press conference here.
In the past , Yogi has emerged as the face of development and zero tolerance for crime in the state.
He was a five-time Lok Sabha member from Gorakhpur till 2017 before becoming chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Adityanath was the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at 26. He was elected to the Parliament from Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms in the 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014 elections.
Gorakhpur Urban constituency has been a fortress of the BJP forces since 1967. Eastern UP, accounts for 160 assembly seats out of the total 403 seats of the state. In 2017, the BJP won 115 seats of 160, and the SP, which currently is a strong opponent of BJP, was the runners-up with 17 seats.
During 2002 and 2007 elections ties between Yogi Adityanath and state BJP leadership had minor differences. Some in BJP in UP were in conflict over the number of seats to be given to candidates selected by him in Gorakhpur. The RSS intervened for a truce. In 2007 he rallied a candlelight vigil and a ‘Shraddhanjali Sabha’ for a Hindu boy killed in riots that broke out in Gorakhpur. The district magistrate had forbidden him from organizing the vigil, but he and his followers went ahead and continued to do so anyway.
In 2014, after the star-spangled victory of the saffron party, the BJP in Lok Sabha polls, he was made a top-tier campaigner for assembly by-elections.
His controversial take on issues like love-jihad and religious conversions have become contentious issues wherever Yogi has campaigned.
He became the Mahant (head priest) of the Gorakhnath Math, a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur, after the death of his spiritual “father”, Mahant Avaidyanath in September 2014.
For somebody who has risen the ranks with no-nonsense approach, these elections are going to be a crucial fight. Till then, it’s a wait and watch for all watching the fight closely.