SP chief Akhilesh Yadav 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 UP Legislative Council.
For the BJP, Gorakhpur assumes significance as it is the bastion of Mr Adityanath, who has represented it in Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Mr 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. The BJP, for the first time, gained ground in Phulpur in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Maurya emerged victorious.
“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.
“Even when the two parties (SP and Congress) fought against us jointly in the 2017 assembly polls, their alliance came a cropper,” he said.
Mr 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 declared its support for Praveen Kumar Nishad, for the by-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. SP would soon declare its candidate for the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, it added.
On February 16, the Congress decided to go it alone in the parliamentary by-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 by-elections will be held on March 11, while counting of votes will be held on March 14.