Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday skipped the nomination of popular Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan from the former’s pocket borough of Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency giving rise to speculation that the firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was unhappy with the party pick.
Following the announcement of his candidature from Gorakhpur seat by the BJP last week, Kishan had met Adityanath in Lucknow to seek blessings for his victory in the tough electoral battle. Kishan had even claimed BJP would win more than 74 seats in the Lok Sabha polls in UP.
The CM was expected to accompany Kishan during the filing of nomination papers today in Gorakhpur, but his programme was cancelled at the last moment, according to sources adding Adityanath was now likely to visit Gorakhpur tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a BJP leader claimed that the CM could not reach Gorakhpur for the nomination of the actor due to his prior commitments and rebuffed suggestions of his displeasure over the issue. “There is ample time before the polling in Gorakhpur and Yogiji would campaign in the parliamentary constituency in the coming days, as he has been doing for all the other seats across the state.”
The polling in Gorakhpur and 12 other constituencies, including Varanasi in UP, is scheduled in the final and 7th phase on May 19, before the counting of votes takes place on May 23.
Today, the CM addressed public meetings in the constituencies of Bundelkhand region, including Jhansi and Hamirpur, apart from Kanpur Dehat.
Earlier, Adityanath, who is also the presiding seer of the Gorakhpur-based Gorakhnath Peeth, had represented the Gorakhpur constituency for five consecutive times. In 2017, he resigned from the seat following his election as a member of legislative council (MLC) in Uttar Pradesh.
In the 2018 Gorakhpur bypoll, the BJP had nominated Upendra Shukla to contest from the prestigious Eastern UP constituency. Interestingly, it was for the first time in nearly three decades that the saffron party had fielded a leader from outside the powerful Gorakhnath temple from the seat.
Traditionally, the head pries of the Gorakhnath temple have been contesting the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat and winning by handsome margins. The peeth commands considerable influence in the region, especially Gorakhpur and surrounding districts.
It was speculated that Adityanath had disapproved of the party’s bypoll pick and had also skipped Shukla's nomination in February 2018. Shukla subsequently lost the byelection to Praveen Nishad of the Nishad Party, which was supported by the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to jointly take on the ruling BJP.
“Yogiji does not want any other leader to emerge from Gorakhpur and win election from the BJP ticket. This is the reason, he skipped the nomination of Ravi Kishan,” Congress leader Zishan Haider said.