Titans give a final push as campaign reaches last leg in Uttar Pradesh bypolls

With just a day left for campaigning in bypoll bound Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, the titans of all major political parties have put their might behind their candidates on Thursday. 

Published: 08th March 2018 10:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2018 10:56 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: With just a day left for campaigning in bypoll bound Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, the titans of all major political parties have put their might behind their candidates on Thursday. 

While CM Yogi Adityanath, leading the BJP campaign from the front, addressed three back-to-back public meetings in Phulpur and proceeded to Gorakhpur to keep camping in the Gorakshnath temple on Friday, BSP chief Mayawati threw her weight behind the SP candidates by asking her cadres to hold at least 100 ‘nukkad’ meetings each in Gorakhpur and Phulpur to garner support for SP candidates. 

Addressing the voters of Phulpur, the CM claimed on Thursday that SP and BSP were rattled by the electoral success of BJP in North-East. As a result, they formed an ‘alliance’ in UP but it won’t help them, he added. 

Notably, the CM will continue his campaign blitzkrieg by holding four rallies in the final leg of campaigning Gorakhpur on Friday, deputy CM Keshav Maurya and cabinet ministers would hold simultaneous public meetings in both the constituencies going to poll on March 11. The result will be declared on March 14. 

However, Mayawati is learnt to have instructed a team of BSP leaders, led by her close confidante and Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Siddharth, to personally supervise the campaign in both the constituencies. Sources said that Mayawati has asked Siddharth to organise at least one meeting between two sectors of every assembly constituency.

Since BSP divides each assembly segment into 40 sectors, 20 public meetings would to be organized in each of the five assembly segments in Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary constituencies. Together, this would make up for 100 public meetings in each. “We have been asked to campaign rigorously as if our own party is contesting,” said a BSP functionary.

While Gorakhpur is a BJP bastion, Phulpur has seen a constant shift of power. Once a SP stronghold, particularly due to the presence of strongman Atiq Ahmed, it voted to power BSP in 2009 and BJP in 2014. This time around, Atiq has thrown his hat in the ring in Phulpur as independent candidate curtailing the chances of SP yet again.

“There won’t be any big rally. We have to campaign silently at this juncture,” said a blue brigade coordinator seeking anonymity.

Interestingly, expelled BSP leader Indrajeet Saroj, who later joined SP, has been spearheading the campaign in Phulpur giving a much-needed impulse to the joint campaign. 

However, while BSP cadre is out in the field and working harder than Samajwadis to see them through in both the seats which would serve as a test case for future SP-BSP alliance, one of the most keenly watched experiments ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Moreover, despite not being directly in the fray, much is at stake for the BSP chief as the success of her ‘give and take deal’ with SP and effectiveness of her appeal to transfer her vote in favour of SP would be reflected in the bypoll outcome. 

In the meantime, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who stepped out to address a maiden rally in support of his party candidate in Gorakhpur at the fag end on Wednesday, deferred his Phulpur road shows to Friday.

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