Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is likely to contest the February-March Uttar Pradesh assembly polls from the Ayodhya constituency. The decision, sources said, came after high-level meetings of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s state election committee and core group in the national capital.
The likely move to field Yogi Adityanath from Ayodhya is due to the holy city’s significance in the BJP’s UP poll strategy, said the sources. It sends a crucial message to the party’s core voters days after the UP chief minister’s “80% vs 20%” remark.
“Ram temple is an issue that unites Hindus like no other issue. It’s an emotive issue and who else to represent the seat than our chief minister Yogi Adityanath? The symbolic importance of this is big as he has been associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement,” said a senior party leader.
In 2017, the seat was won by Ved Prakash Gupta of the BJP. Polling for Ayodhya is on February 27, round five of the seven-phase elections.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Harnath Singh Yadav had earlier written to party president JP Nadda to field Yogi from the Mathura assembly constituency. The seat is represented by cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma.
The speculation of Yogi contesting from there also strengthened after he flagged off the Jan Vishwas Yatra from Mathura in the Braj region.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister during an interview with News18.com had said that he would contest the assembly elections and that party would pick the seat.
News18.com had reported that the CM is likely to contest from one of three seats, Ayodhya, Mathura, or Gorakhpur, thus creating pressure on opposition leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Priyanka Gandhi and Mayawati to fight the assembly polls.
The elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in UP will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10. The BJP had swept to power in the 2017 polls by winning 312 seats. Yogi Adityanath, who is a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC), did not contest the assembly elections five years ago as at the time he was still the BJP MP from Gorakhpur.