Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has to become a member of the state legislature by September 18 to remain in the CM’s post, is likely to continue as an MP from Gorakhpur till the Presidential election gets over in July-end, said BJP sources. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, w ho is still holding the post of an MP from Phulpur, is expected to do the same, as per sources.
The BJP-led government completes three months next week and its MLAs who are also electors in the presidential elections are also unlikely to vacate their seats till July end. Even as a number of BJP MLAs have offered to vacate their seats for Adityanath, there is little clarity about which seat he will contest or if he will choose the route of Legislative Council like his two predecessors Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.
Besides Adityanath and Maurya, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Swatantra Dev Singh and MoS Mohsin Raza are also not members of the state legislature. While one seat of Legislative Council is vacant, the four ministers will have to contest an election, unless the party asks a few of its eight MLCs to vacate their seats.
BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan said the party’s central parliamentary board will take the decision on which seats will be contested by these leaders and whether they will become members of Legislative Council or the Legislative Assembly. Vipin Singh, MLA from Gorakhpur Rural, Fateh Bahadur Singh, MLA from Campierganj in Gorakhpur, and Ved Prakash Gupta, MLA from Ayodhya, are among the BJP legislators who have offered to vacate their seats if the chief minister is willing to contest from their seats.
Party sources said that Adityanath will prefer to get elected as an MLA from a seat in Gorakhpur district to continue his association with the district that is home to Gorakhnath Peeth and also to keep his focus on eastern UP.
Vipin Singh said he has made the offer and the final decision is to be taken by the chief minister and the party. “I became an MLA with his blessings. I will consider myself lucky if he chooses to contest from my seat,” he said.
The MLA said the area around Gorakhnath Peeth, whose head priest is Adityanath, falls in Gorakhpur Sadar as well as Gorakhpur Rural seat and the latter has been under the influence of the Peeth for long. Fateh Bahadur, son of former chief minister Veer Bahadur Singh, said he has made his offer and will be ready to vacate his seat if Adityanath decides to contest from there.
MLA Ved Prakash Gupta echoed similar sentiments. “I was asked a question a few days ago. I said I will be happy to leave my seat if the CM wants to contest from Ayodhya. He is the CM and can contest from any seat,” he said.
Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, four-time MLA from Gorakhpur Sadar, said it is upto the chief minister to decide from which seat he is going to contest. “When four MLAs have offered to vacate their seats, it is up to the party and Yogiji to take a decision. The party organisation has to take a decision on the selection of the seat,” he said.
Party sources said the MLAs offering their seats are also hopeful of being considered for contesting the by-election on Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat once Adityanath vacates it. Maurya had won as an MLA from Sirathu seat of Kaushambi district in 2012, before becoming an MP two years later.
The seat is currently held by Shitla Prasad alias Pappu Patel. Prasad said there has been no discussion on the matter but the choice of party and Maurya will be final. For Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, any urban seat from Lucknow is being seen as suitable as he has been active in the city during most of his political career.