Campaigning will end tomorrow for the high stakes bye-elections to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, with political parties leaving no stone unturned to drum up support for their candidates ahead of polling on Sunday.
The bypolls were necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats respectively, following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
For the BJP, Gorakhpur is significant as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who has represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Yogi Adityanath, the seat was thrice represented in Parliament by his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath.
The bye-elections are expected to witness a triangular contest between the ruling BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress.
The saffron party has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP's Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel respectively. Sureetha Kareem is the Congress candidate from Gorakhpur. The party has fielded Manish Mishra from Phulpur.
There are ten candidates in the fray from Gorakhpur, while there are 22 candidates contesting from Phulpur.
"The lotus (BJP's poll symbol) will bloom in both the seats. I have no doubt. The very fact that people are talking mostly about BJP's victory margin is itself an indicator that the party is going to win. You can rest assured that we are going to improve our margin in both the seats," Deputy Chief Minister Maurya told PTI.
Maurya said that as far as the vote-share was concerned, "60 per cent is ours and the rest is for others to share".
Adityanath has termed the bye-elections a rehearsal for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Speaking at a public meeting in Pipraich, he said, "The bypolls are a rehearsal for the 2019 parliamentary election. Work for the present election and also work for 2019 (Lok Sabha election) and win all 80 seats of the state for Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
According to the Election Commission, there 19.61 lakh voters in Phulpur parliamentary constituency, while there are 19.49 lakh voters in Gorakhpur parliamentary.
The ruling BJP did not only win both the seats in the 2014 general elections but also swept the state Assembly polls last year.
However, this time the party faces a new challenge as the SP contestants have the backing of BSP.
"They will in fact exercise their voting rights appropriately... As per my earlier directives, the BSP workers will vote for a candidate who will be in a position to defeat the BJP, and there is nothing wrong in it," Mayawati had said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)