CHIEF MINISTER Yogi Adityanath has said he would start his Lok Sabha poll campaign from Shakumbhari Devi temple in Saharanpur and Gorakhpur from March 24 — covering both western and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Two days ago, the Samajwadi Party had said it would launch its poll campaign with a joint rally by the presidents of the SP, BSP and RLD chiefs Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati and Ajit Singh, from Deoband in Saharanpur, where Asia’s biggest Islamic seminary — Darul Uloom Deoband — is located.
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In the first phase, eight western UP constituencies will vote on April 11.
Yogi said in Lucknow that while the alliance [of SP-BSP-RLD] had its own thinking and vision that was prompting them to start the campaign from Saharanpur’s Deoband, he had his own rationale in beginning from Shakumbhari Devi temple.
After speculation, strategic move to counter alliance
IN THE wake of speculation that the BJP would start its poll campaign from Meerut like it did in 2014, the announcement that the campaign would be launched from Saharanpur appears to be a strategic move. It is seen as a bid to counter SP-BSP alliance’s decision of choosing Deoband in Saharanpur to hold a joint rally. Sources in the party say, the SP-BSP top leaders chose to launch the campaign with a joint rally from Deoband to prevent Muslim votes splitting up towards the Congress candidate (Imran Masood). The CM’s decision to start the campaign from a temple a few kilometres from Deoband is a bid to send a message across the constituencies in western UP, sources said.
Yogi added that Ram Mandir was never on the election agenda for us and that the “common public’s feelings should be respected in Ayodhya.”
Reacting to the statement by Yogi over the alliance starting campaign from Deoband, SP leader Uday Veer Singh said, “We are starting election campaign from constituency number 1 of the state. Yogi ji is focusing on the fact that we are kicking off our campaign from Deoband, but does not notice that we are starting it during the Hindu festival of Navratri.”