Sunday 23 January 2022
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Yogi may contest from Ayodhya; BJP assured of eastern UP

The reverence for Yogi, the Gorakhnath Mutt mahant, increased manifold in his five years as the CM, believes the BJP that is trying to enthuse workers in Awadh

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is likely to contest the Uttar Pradesh election, to be held in February-March, from Ayodhya, sources in the BJP said today, as the process for nominations as candidates in the ruling party has begun. A Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya in 2019, settling a centuries-old dispute for which the BJP is credited, even as it used to be mocked at one point after the demolition of the Babri structure, where detractors said, “Mandir wahin banayenge, lekin kab banayenge nahin batayenge (we will make the temple right there but will not tell when we will do it)”.

The BJP’s core committee on Uttar Pradesh, which includes Yogi, met in New Delhi last evening to discuss possible candidates for the assembly election. A party functionary said the issue of the chief minister’s candidature from Ayodhya came up for discussion at the meeting.

The elections to the 403-member state assembly will be held in seven phases from 10 February to 7 and results will be announced on 10 March.

The final decision on the ticket distribution will be that of the BJP’s committee, which will examine the recommendations from the state unit. There is a growing clamour for Yogi to be fielded from Ayodhya or Mathura because of their religious significance to the Hindus.

A second party functionary said the proposal to field Adityanath, a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, from Ayodhya will send a message combining Hindutva with development. The party believes that the eastern end of the geographically stretched state will vote overwhelmingly for the BJP anyway, as the reverence for Yogi, the mahant of Gorakhnath Mutt, has increased manifold in the duration for which he has been the chief minister.

BJP MLA Harnath Yadav earlier wrote to BJP president JP Nadda for considering picking Yogi as a candidate from Mathura. “While Gorakhpur, which is the seat of the Gorakhnath Math (of which the Yogi is the head) is identified with the chief minister), the religious significance of Ayodhya is far greater. If he contests from there, it will be a clear and strong message that the party and the chief minister are not compromising on their core ideological beliefs for political purposes,” said a third functionary.

BJP functionaries on the ground claim the performance of the state government and the union government’s social schemes will help the party retain power in Uttar Pradesh with 270 to 290 seats.

“Since it is a phased election, a lot rides on the mood on the ground as the progresses. But we are confident of a comfortable win,” said the third functionary.

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