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Posted at: Apr 14, 2019, 7:12 AM; last updated: Apr 14, 2019, 7:12 AM (IST)

BJP faces dilemma in Gorakhpur

Reclaiming seat lost to mahagathbandhan a major challenge for saffron party

Tribune News Service
Lucknow, April 13

Reclaiming the prestigious Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat lost to the SP-BSP-RLD mahagathbandhan in a byelection last year appears to be a major challenge for the BJP.

What was initially thought to be a coup of sorts — making sitting MP Praveen Nishad join the BJP — no longer appears to be of such great advantage to the saffron party.

Earlier, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had managed to win over to the BJP the wife and son of late Yamuna Nishad, another influential Nishad leader of the region. The mahagathbandhan was quick to react to Praveen Nishad joining the BJP and his father and president of Nishad party Sanjay Nishad quitting the opposition alliance.

As Gorakhpur is in the Samajwadi Party quota, SP president Akhilesh Yadav decided to field two-time SP MLA from Gorakhpur (rural) Ram Bhuwal Nishad as the mahagathbandhan candidate in order to strategically split the sizeable Nishad votes in the constituency.

This has made the BJP reconsider fielding sitting MP Praveen Nishad as the alliance candidate. The mahagathbandhan candidate happens to be a more seasoned politician who is also getting the advantage of corning the Dalit and other OBC votes of the alliance partners.

Facing a dilemma, the BJP is yet to announce a candidate for the Gorakhpur seat which Yogi has made a prestige issue as the BJP lost it after he had represented it in the Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms.

Sources said during the BJP review of the Lok Sabha seats of the Purvanchal region, national president Amit Shah asked party men for suggestions for the Gorakhpur seat and they reportedly in unison said only Yogi could win it back for the party. 

However, Yogi is believed to have expressed his reluctance to contest clearly smelling a conspiracy to move him out of the state.

Keeping the caste configuration in mind, it is being speculated that the BJP is considering fielding Pipraich sitting OBC MLA Mahendra Pal Singh from Gorakhpur.

The plan includes shifting sitting Gorakhpur MP Praveen Nishad to Bhadohi and promising his father Sanjay Nishad a Rajya Sabha seat. Yamuna Nishad’s son may be later fielded from Piparich in a likely byelection. 

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