What Makes Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur Urban a BJP Stronghold in Uttar Pradesh Elections
Like his main challenger, Samajwadi party chairman Akhilesh Yadav, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is standing for his first election to the assembly. And, like Akhilesh Yadav, Yogi Adityanath fights from a “super safe” seat on his own turf. However, unlike the Karhal of Akhilesh Yadav, that of Yogi Adityanath seat Gorakhpur Urban is not a “caste-dominated” constituency per se.
The Gorakhpur Urban Assembly constituency is mini-cosmopolitan in voter composition. There are about 4.5 lakh voters in the urban constituency of Gorakhpur, from where Yogi Adityanath dropped his candidacy papers on Friday.
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) February 4, 2022
Although there is no caste census dataset to be confirmed, the urban constituency of Gorakhpur is estimated to have around 60,000-70,000 Brahmin voters, followed by 55,000-60,000 Kayasthas and about 50,000 Vaishya traders or voters.
Around 50,000 voters are Dalits and around 75,000 belong to backward castes such as Nishads, Yadavs, Nonias, Sainthwars and others. About 40,000 voters are Muslim and 25,000 to 30,000 are Rajput. Among other voters, the seat of Gorakhpur Urban has a significant number of Bengalis, Sikh-Punjabis, Sindhis and Christians, all of whom have localized dominance over certain voting booths.
While Akhilesh Yadav’s Karhal would be decided by Yadav’s voters, to win the seat of Gorakhpur Urban, a candidate must secure votes in the cosmopolitan demographic composition. No voter from a single community could ensure the victory of a candidate in the urban constituency of Gorakhpur.
BJP DOMINANCE IN GORAKHPUR
This is why Bharatiya Jan Sangh (forerunner of the Bharatiya Janata Party) and the Janata Party (which saw the emergence of many Janata parties including the Samajwadi Party) were able to defeat the Congress even in the era of the pre-Ayodhya movement in this constituency.
The BJP has dominated the Gorakhpur Urban constituency since 1989, losing the seat only once in 2002, when then-Lok Sabha member Yogi Adityanath backed Radha Mohan Das Agarwal in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Agarwal then joined the BJP. He has been MP for Gorakhpur Urban since 2002.
Yogi Adityanath established his dominance over the electorate of Gorakhpur as a Lok Sabha MP and also as the head of Gorakhnath Math with his outreach programs such as sah-bhoj (community feast) with the Dalit caste and movements for affirm the rights of marginalized Musahar. and the Vantangiya castes.
ROLE OF GORAKHPUR MATHEMATICS
Gorakhpur Math is not only a religious center in Gorakhpur and nearby areas of Purvanchal but also serves as a center for obtaining medical care and community help. The seat of Gorakhpur Lok Sabha was held by the Chief Priest of Gorakhnath Math for seven consecutive terms between 1989 and 2017, when Yogi Adityanath resigned as an MP to lead the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.
In secondary Lok Sabha polls, Samajwadi Party candidate Praveen Nishad beat BJP candidate Upendra Dutt Shukla in 2018. This could happen as Nishad, a dominant community vote bank with Mallahs with 23% of the votes, could lead to an oscillation of more than 27% of the polled votes. during the Lok Sabha election in 2014.
The swing was aided by the SP-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance which fielded Nishad party leader Sanjay Nishad’s son. However, the swing in the vote proved to be short-lived as BJP’s Ravi Kishan garnered over 60.5% of the vote in 2019 for candidate Lok Sabha despite the SP-BSP rapprochement.
In the previous two Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, BJP’s Agarwal won over 49% (in 2012) and nearly 56% (in 2017) of the vote. In 2012, the Samajwadi Party won around 21% of the vote, followed by the BSP 14% and the Congress less than 7%.
In 2017, when Congress won the seat in an alliance with the SP, their candidate won 28% of the vote, followed by the BSP with 11%. The combined share of rival votes was lower than that of the BJP candidate.
CAN THERE BE A CONSTRAINT IN GORAKHPUR?
With Yogi Adityanath vying for assembly election, and the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Congress and emerging Dalit leader Chandra Shekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ do not align themselves with the Samajwadi Party, the closest rival candidate will have to ensuring a greater swing in votes than seen in the 2018 Lok Sabha polls in the urban seat of Gorakhpur will cause perhaps the biggest upheaval in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2022.
2018 Lok Sabha by-election swinger Sanjay Nishad was with Yogi Adityanath when he filed his candidacy on Friday along with Union Home Minister and top BJP election strategist Amit Shah, Union Minister and Uttar Pradesh Leader of BJP, Dharmendra Pradhan and Uttar Pradesh. BJP Chairman Swantatra Dev Singh in Gorakhpur.
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