The BJP has given the command of its Uttar Pradesh bypoll campaign to its saffron-robed firebrand leader Yogi Adityanath — a decision taken at a time when the party is facing allegations of polarising the state on communal lines.
The party, it is learnt, will organise public meetings by the Gorkahpur MP in all 10 Assembly seats and Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency. Of the 10 Assembly constituencies going for bypolls, four — Saharanpur Nagar, Bijnor, Thakurdwara and Noida — fall in communally-sensitive western UP.
BJP president Amit Shah, during his Lucknow visit on August 19, had formed a panel of three leaders for the bypoll campaigning in UP. These leaders were Adityanath, former CM Kalyan Singh and party state president Laxmikant Bajpai.
Singh, however, will keep off election campaigning as he has been appointed as the governor of Rajasthan. “Now, only Yogiji and I will campaign for the party candidates in bypolls. No other leader from party’s national body will campaign in the bypolls,” Bajpai told The Indian Express. He said canvassing will start soon as all party candidates filed their nomination papers on Wednesday. Polling is scheduled for September 13.
The appointment of Adityanath as the in-charge of campaigning is being seen in the light of recent incidents of communal violence in Muslim-dominated Saharanpur and Moradabad districts. Kaanth area, where violence had occurred over removal of a loudspeaker from a temple, falls in Moradabad district and is near poll-bound Thakurdawara Assembly seat.
Communal clashes have also been witnessed at Gurudwara Road in Saharanpur and the riot-affected area falls under Saharanpur Nagar Assembly constituency. BJP is hopeful of winning the seat.
During the LS polls, Adityanath addressed public meetings in several constituencies where Muslims constitute a large section of the population.