BJP sure of a cakewalk in KP Maurya-held Phulpur amid buzz of Mayawati contesting
BJP officials said that the party does not expect Mayawati to “risk” her political career by contesting the bypoll from the Phulpur seat.
Senior BJP officials from the state told ET that the party does not expect BSP chief Mayawati to “risk” her political career by contesting the bypoll from this prestigious seat following her resignation from the Rajya Sabha. Phulpur is known for being the seat from where India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru got elected to Parliament.
BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday ruled out any move to shift Maurya to Delhi, saying the deputy CM will soon be relieved of his duties as state president to allow him to work fully with the UP government.
“It was pure media speculation that Maurya will be moved to Delhi because BJP wants to avoid a bypoll in Phulpur. In the present atmosphere in UP and our thumping win just four months ago, a win in Phulpur is a foregone conclusion. Maurya last won the seat by more than three lakh votes,” a senior state party official said.
The issue of bypolls in Phulpur and Gorakhpur, CM Yogi Adityanath’s Lok Sabha constituency, was discussed during Shah’s UP visit.
Speculation has been rife that Phulpur might see a rare opposition alliance if Mayawati chose to contest, with SP and Congress supporting her. However, a senior state BJP leader said: “She has always opted for a safe seat in her entire career. Further, BSP has never contested a bypoll. Given her present condition, with her party hitting rock-bottom, we do not feel she will take the risk, lose and go into political oblivion.”
The opposition unity is in tatters, with SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav pulling in different directions, another state BJP functionary said.
Congress had polled just 6% of the votes in Phulpur in 2014 polls when it fielded cricketer Mohd Kaif. A senior SP functionary said the party had yet to decide about its strategy for Phulpur bypoll. A senior BJP leader said: “After JDU-BJP alliance in Bihar, there is little chance of any major joint opposition front emerging in UP. The seat’s equation is firmly in BJP’s favour right now.”
Phulpur has also been represented in past by Vijay Lakshmi Pandit and VP Singh. Nehru held the seat thrice, defeating SP’s leader Ram Manohar Lohia once. SP held the seat from 1996 to 2004. BJP won it for the first time in 2014, with Maurya polling 52% of the total votes. “Though it is a VIP constituency, Phulpur hardly saw any development before BJP won here in 2014. People saw the work done by Maurya here, especially regarding solar energy. It should be a cakewalk,” a BJP leader said.