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Brand Adityanath suffers a dent after defeat on home turf

BJP's Gorakhpur candidate Upendra Shukla lost by nearly 22,000 votes. Party sources say Shukla was the central leadership’s choice and not the CM's.

Mar 15, 2018, 07.46 AM IST
CM Yogi Adityanath
PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are likely to draw flak for Adityanath’s failure to deliver as he was their choice for the CM post.
New Delhi: BJP’s loss in Yogi Adityanath’s home turf of Gorakhpur, a constituency he has represented in the Lok Sabha for five consecutive times, would dent the standing of the UP CM who has emerged as a star campaigner of the party in various state elections from Gujarat to Tripura.

Upendra Shukla, BJP’s Gorakhpur candidate, lost by nearly 22,000 votes. While party sources said Shukla was the central leadership’s choice and Yogi was not consulted, the defeat of a BJP candidate in the CM’s pocket borough is an embarrassment for him. BJP’s local unit has for long seen an intra-party conflict between the Brahmins, led by Union MoS for finance SP Shukla, and Adityanath.

“The defeat is a matter of analysis. Midway during the elections, a deal was struck by two parties (SP and BSP). We have also lost due to over-confidence.

In a bypoll local issues overshadow national issues. Both poll defeats (including Phulpur) are a lesson for us,” Adityanath told a news agency.

While BJP used Adityanath in Gujarat to polarise votes — he failed to attract crowds — as well as in Tripura to woo the Nath and Deonath voters. He has also campaigned in Karnataka which goes to polls in April-May. It would be interesting to see whether BJP continues to use his services during election campaigns in other states. BJP leaders said since becoming CM, Yogi has been spending weekends in Gorakhpur holding janata durbars (public meeting).

He has also announced several projects worth thousands of crores, including the setting up of a sugar mill and infrastructure development, in the last one year.

PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are likely to draw flak for Adityanath’s failure to deliver as he was their choice for the CM post. The likely tie-up of Congress-BSP-SP in the next Lok Sabha polls, growing antiincumbency against the BJP government as well as the rising voices of dissent within BJP would be a challenge for the party in the coming months.
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