Congress, Samajwadi Party to contest Gorakhpur, Phulpur bypolls separately; BJP confident of retaining both seats

The decision of the Congress and Samajwadi Party to go separate ways in the bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh may have brightened the BJP's prospects of retaining these seats even as the saffron party claimed it would rely on its hardwork and strength.

PTI February 19, 2018 07:31:07 IST
Congress, Samajwadi Party to contest Gorakhpur, Phulpur bypolls separately; BJP confident of retaining both seats

Lucknow: The decision of the Congress and Samajwadi Party to go separate ways in the bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh may have brightened the BJP's prospects of retaining these seats even as the saffron party claimed it would rely on its hardwork and strength.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today announced the name of the party contestant from Gorakhpur and said the candidate for Phulpur will be declared shortly. The Congress has already named its nominees for both the high-profile constituencies. Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies were vacated by Chief Minister Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively, after they became members of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.

For the BJP, Gorakhpur assumes significance as it is the bastion of Adityanath, who has represented it in Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Adityanath, Gorakhpur was thrice represented in the Parliament by his mentor Avaidyanath.

Phulpur, on the other hand, was once the bastion of the Congress, and represented by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It had for the first time witnessed a saffron surge in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Maurya emerged victorious.

Congress Samajwadi Party to contest Gorakhpur Phulpur bypolls separately BJP confident of retaining both seats

Representational image. Reuters

"We can clearly see that opposition votes will split with both the SP and the Congress in the fray. However, we will contest on our strengths, and emerge victorious. We believe that the hard work of the party workers will definitely help us to clinch victory on both the seats," UP BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla told PTI on Sunday. Even when the two parties (SP and Congress) fought against us jointly in the 2017 Assembly polls, their alliance came a cropper, he said.

Shukla exuded confidence that BJP will not only retain the two seats, but also improve its margin of victory. "There are only two waves - Modi wave and Yogi wave - in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to their vision for development as reflected in both the Union and state budgets," he said.

The Samajwadi Party on Sunday declared its support for Praveen Kumar Nishad, for the bye-election to the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat. Praveen Kumar Nishad, who belongs to the Nishad Party, would contest on SP poll symbol - the bicycle, the party said. Samajwadi Party would soon declare its candidate for the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, it added.

On 16 February, the Congress decided to go it alone in the parliamentary bye-elections in Uttar Pradesh and declared its candidates. Party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said that Dr Sureetha will be its candidate for the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypoll, and local leader Manish Mishra will contest from the Phulpur parliamentary seat.

Voting for the Lok Sabha bye-elections will be held on 11 March, while counting of votes will be held on 14 March.

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