LUCKNOW: The political landscape of Uttar Pradesh was heated up once again on Friday when the Election Commission of India (ECI) finally announced the date – March 11, 2018—for the by-election to Gorakhpur and Phulpur (Allahabad) Lok Sabha seats vacated respectively by UP CM Adityanath Yogi and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya.
The bypoll would be notified by the commission on February 13 and the results would be announced on March 14.
The model code of conduct would be imposed in two districts with effect from the date of notification. The process of filing nomination papers would take off on February 20.
The bypoll to the two seats was necessitated after UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya put in their papers in the lower house of parliament following their election to UP Council in September last year. The two leaders had to take up the membership of Council after the BJP stormed to power with a humongous mandate in 2017Assembly elections. While Yogi Adityanath, five-term MP from Gorakhpur, was anointed UP CM and Keshav Maurya, who won Phulpur for the party first time in 2014, became deputy CM of the state.
However, the by-election to the two important constituencies is of great significance as opposition parties including SP, BSP and Congress have been trying hard to stitch up a bigger alliance to take on the mighty BJP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Gorakhpur is essentially crucial as it happens to be the home turf of Adityanath Yogi. It is a matter of prestige for the party as the performance here would be taken as the referendum on Yogi’s performance as state’s CM.
So is the case with Phulpur. A traditional Congress bastion from where Jawaharlal Nehru won three successive elections occasions in 1952, 1957 and 1962, Phulpur was snatched away from grand old party’s kitty by Maurya for the first time under Modi wave in 2014.
Meanwhile, the commission said that ministers -- both Central or state -- shall not combine in any manner their official tours with election work after the notification of bypoll.
The commission, however, clarified that there was no instruction in the context of by-election prohibiting the state government to take decisions which have state-wide impact and consequently in the constituency concerned.