Gorakhpur Bypoll 2018:
The face of UP has changed after the arrival of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister. The political career of the UP CM has also drastically changed. He is not only the face of the Hindutva brigade but also a star campaigner, who is tipped to be future prime ministerial candidate for the saffron outfit. Now he will face stern test in his home ground at Gorakhpur.
Previously, Yogi Adityanath was elected in Lok Sabha from the Gorakhpur constituency for record five times. This time around, BJP has fielded Upendra Shukla as its candidate for the bypolls as Yogi Adityanath has become a member of the state legislature. In 30 years, this is the first time BJP is fielding a candidate other than Yogi Adityanath and opposition parties are dreaming of an upset.
Every election in UP is bound to be discussed in parameters of caste equation. Upendra Shukla is necessarily first Brahmin candidate in Gorakhpur and there are apprehensions whether this will irk the Thakurs or not. Incidentally, Upendra Shukla is not at all related to the very powerful Goraknath Temple. Thus the case of local emotions is not effective at all. Senior political analysts can certainly remember that in 1989, Yogi Adityanath’s guru Mahant Avaidyanath was first elected to Lok Sabha.
Let’s not forget the fact that in BJP circles, Yogi Adityanath and Upendra Shukla are not on the same side. Previously, in 2006 when Upendra Shukla keenly tried to get in state legislature through Gorakhpur and that too at the cost of irking Yogi Adityanath, the Brahmin leader lost the seat to Samajwadi Party candidate. This time around BSP is not fielding a candidate on their own.
Thus mathematically, Upendra Shukla will get upper caste Brahmin votes. Whether the Thakur votes are going to go in his kitty or not, is a serioud question. Anyhow, things have changed and Yogi Adityanath is keen to make sure than Upendra Shukla wins from Gorakhpur. It has become some sort of prestige fight for the UP CM. People from previous generations do remember the gang wars between the Brahmins and the Thakurs in the constituency. Thus Upendra Shukla has got tough task ahead if he has to emerge victorious in the election.
From a broader perspective, this bypoll elections will be a dress rehearsal to see whether Brahmin candidates can work wonder for BJP even in the Yogi Adityanath era or not.