Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad to contest against Yogi from Gorakhpur Urban

Azad decided to go it alone in UP polls after the alliance talks between Azad and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav failed last week

Published: 20th January 2022 01:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2022 07:34 PM   |  A+A-

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad (File | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: After the announcement of the name of UP CM Yogi Adityanath as party candidate from Gorakhpur Urban seat by the BJP last Saturday, Azad Samaj Party (ASP) president and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad has decided to challenge the might of Yogi, who is also the ‘Mahapeethhadheeshwar’ of Gorakshnath Peeth, in his bastion. 

The ASP announced Azad's candidature from the same seat on Thursday. Gorakhpur would go to the polls in phase six on March 3.

The ASP has decided to go it alone in UP assembly elections after the alliance talks between Azad and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav failed last week after six months of confabulations. On January 18, the ASP released its first list of 33 candidates for the initial phases of polling. While releasing the list, the party did not disclose the seat from where Azad would be in the fray.

The UP assembly polls are only the second major election that the ASP is fighting since its inception two years ago. It had taken a distant third place when it contested Bulandshahr bypoll after BJP and BSP in 2020. The RLD and Congress candidates, however, trailed behind the ASP candidate.

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Despite having his basic clout in western UP, Azad has been challenging the political bigwigs in their bastions. Ahead of the general elections in 2019, the Bhim Army chief had announced his intention to contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi but later he withdrew his papers. The Dalit communities comprise 20% of the population in Uttar Pradesh and play a key role in many districts in swinging the polls.

Azad is quite active in politics. He had hit the headlines during the anti-CAA protest for which he had garnered sizeable support from the Muslims. Coming from the Jatav sub-caste from which also comes BSP chief Mayawati, Azad, as the political observers believe, is trying to fill the space created by Mayawati by becoming relatively inert in Dalit politics.

On the other hand, Yogi Adityanath is a five-time MP from Gorakhpur and the ‘Urban’ seat from where he is in the fray, has been with the saffron brigade for the last seven terms. From 1989 to 1996, Shiv Pratap Shukla, the former MoS in Modi cabinet, won it for the BJP followed by Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal who has been winning from the same seat since 2002. He is the sitting BJP MLA from Gorakhpur Urban.

In the previous 2017 assembly election, Agarwal won the seat with a margin of over 60,000 votes garnering a vote share of 56% defeating Congress’s Rana Rahul Singh who could get 28.1% votes. As the SP had contested the previous assembly polls in alliance with Congress, so Gorakhpur Urban seat had gone into the Congress’s kitty.


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