While Yogi Adityanath will participate in Gorakhpur Sadar (Urban) constituency, Akhilesh Yadav has been aligned from Karhal in Mainpuri district.
Gorakhpur (Urban) heads to the polls in the sixth of seven rounds of elections on March 3. Karhal will face elections in the third phase on February 20.
Karhal is due to go to the polls on February 20 in the third phase of the seven-phase UP elections.
SP is believed to be the closest challenger to the ruling BJP.
Yogi Adityanath and Akhilesh Yadav argue from their respective strongholds.
Gorakhpur is considered the stronghold of the BJP, with the party having won every election since 1989 except 2002. Additionally, Yogi Adityanath was a five-term Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur between 1998 and 2017 until he became the CM.
He is also the ‘mahant’ or chief priest of the revered and influential Gorakhpur Mutt since September 2014.
Under such circumstances, Gorakhpur is seen as the safest seat for the UP CM to contest the ensuing state elections.
Similarly, the seat of Karhal is also considered a pocket borough of the Yadav clan. SP won the seat from 1993 except once in 2002 when the BJP snatched it.
Karhal is dominated by the Yadavs and they constitute about 35% of the population of the constituency. It is quite close to the home village of the Yadav family, Saifai, where Akhilesh Yadav was born.
Candidates for the elections for the first time to the Assembly
Yogi Adityanath contests his first election to the assembly.
Until he became CM, he was a Lok Sabha MP. After assuming the presidency, he chose to seek election to the Legislative Council and become a member of the MLC.
Like Yogi Adityanath, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav is also running for Assembly elections for the first time.
Akhilesh served as an MP for Lok Sabha for four terms, having won in 2000 (by-election), 2004, 2009 and 2019. He is currently an MP for Azamgarh.
With the SP winning the majority in 2012, Akhilesh Yadav became the CM. Like his predecessor Mayawati, he was also elected MLC.
Heirs of influence
Yogi Adityanath owes his influence in Gorakhpur largely to his late religious guru Mahant Avaidyanath.
Born as Ajay Mohan Bisht on June 5, 1972 in Pauri Garhwal, now Uttarakhand, Yogi Adityanath abandoned his home and joined the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the 1990s.
He came to Gorakhpur and became a disciple of Mahant Avaidyanath, who was the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt. He was initiated into the Nath sect by his guru. He succeeded Mahant Avaidyanath after the latter’s death in September 2014. Gorakhpur became his karmbhoomi.
Yogi Adityanath’s association with the Gorakhnath Mutt helped him exert influence in Gorakhpur. With her help, he dives into politics. The combination of a monkshood and a politician worked for him.
If Gorakhpur is Yogi Adityanath’s karmbhoomi, Mainpuri has been the same for Akhilesh Yadav’s father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is the incumbent Lok Sabha MP from the constituency.
The Yadav clan has held the seat in all eight Lok Sabha elections since 1996, with Moulayam Singh Yadav – the founder of the SP – himself representing it five times.
UP may be planning to create some sort of record. This is the first time that a CM contests an assembly election in 15 years. If BJP and Yogi Adityanath both win or alternatively Akhilesh Yadav and SP win, India’s most populous state would get an MLA CM for the first time since 2007.