LUCKNOW: Much is at stake both for the ruling party and the Opposition as the prestigious Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats go to poll on Sunday.
The outcome, to be declared on Wednesday will not only be a comment on the one-year performance of the Yogi Adityanath government, but the result will also define the formidability of the SP-BSP alliance and the chances it would have in 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Since the two seats have been vacated by CM Yogi and deputy CM Keshav Maurya respectively, their prestige is also associated with this crucial bypoll.
Sample Gorakhpur: Yogi Adityanath, who has represented the seat for five consecutive terms in Lok Sabha, did not leave a single stone unturned in his bastion by addressing 21 rallies there. A dozen of his ministers camped in the constituency and the RSS mobilised voters silently at the grass root level in all the five Assembly segments.
Similarly, Phulpur too is an equally prestigious seat, won by deputy CM Keshav Maurya who trounced his rivals with a huge margin for the first time for saffron brigade in 2014.
Once considered to be the Congress stronghold by virtue of being Nehru’s constituency, it remained with SP from 1996 to 2004 and in 2009 BSP snatched it away from SP.
The intensity of campaigns by Yogi and Maurya is an evidence that the elections will be hard fought since the two powerful regional outfits SP and BSP joined hands to take on the saffron brigade.
Not only this, the bypoll has set the tone for a grand alliance against the BJP in 2019 general elections as SP has been able to stitch up a tie-up with smaller outfits like Peace Party, Nishad Party, NCP, RLD and left outfits.
The Congress is also in the fray but hardly with any major consequence. Spurned by the Samajwadi Party and hit by resources and finances with the senior leaders showing no interest in the by-election, the Congress candidates in the two constituencies have been left to fend for themselves.