UP Lok Sabha bypolls: BJP banks on Modi-Yogi factor, Opposition on their failures

Lucknow: With a month left for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, the BJP is banking on “achievements of the Modi and Yogi governments” to retain the two seats while the Opposition is counting on the “failures of the Uttar Pradesh government” to wrest them from it.

The BJP is counting on the “achievements of the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath,” to gain electoral success even as the Congress has said it will highlight the “failures of the state government” before the people.

Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies were vacated by chief minister Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively after they became members of the UP Legislative Council.

The bypolls will also be a test for the Congress after its impressive performance in Gujarat polls in December and more recently in bye-elections in Rajasthan.

For the BJP, Gorakhpur assumes significance as it is the bastion of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has represented it in Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Adityanath, Gorakhpur was represented in the Parliament by his mentor Avaidyanath three times.

Phulpur, on the other hand, which was once the bastion of the Congress, and represented by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, for the first time witnessed a saffron surge in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Maurya emerged victorious.

The Lok Sabha bypolls are considered to be the first major battle of ballot, after the BJP stormed to power in UP in 2017 Assembly elections, bagging 325 out of 403 Assembly seats along with its allies. The Election Commission had on Friday (February 9) announced that the bypolls on the seats will be held on March 11.

“The BJP is always ready for elections. We are a cadre-based party. I am confident that the party will improve its winning margin,” UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told PTI. Exuding confidence that the BJP will sweep the bypolls, Tripathi said, “March 11 is a significant date for us, as it was on this day last year that the BJP and its allies had bagged 325 out of the 403 Assembly seats in UP.

Then (in 2017) we had banked on the performance of Modi government only. Now, we have the achievements of Yogi and Modi governments (to show to the people).” Taking a jibe at the Congress and the SP, he said, “The two opposition parties had forged a pre-poll alliance to contest the Assembly polls. Now, the Opposition is virtually scattered. When they could not damage the BJP unitedly then how can they damage (the BJP) by contesting individually.”

However, the Congress claimed that an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in UP, and it will highlight failures of the Yogi Adityanath government before the people.

“We will contest from both parliamentary constituencies. The UP government has failed miserably on the law and order front. An atmosphere of fear is prevailing across the state. The problems are far from being resolved,” UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said.

Accusing the BJP of “not fulfilling” its poll promises, the Samajwadi Party said that voters will punish the BJP. “We are confident that people of UP will teach the BJP a lesson for making false promises during the last election and not fulfilling them,” SP spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan said.

“We are ready for polls. We are going to contest strongly on both the seats on our own strength.” Sajan also claimed that public mood was not favourable for the BJP-led state government because of the poor law and order situation.