Ex-BJP leader to go it alone in U.P
Decision follows the Yogi's failed talks with AdvaniHe wanted three dozen seats for his supporters
LUCKNOW: With the rebel Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, deciding to dissociate himself from his party and field his candidates under the banner of All-India Hindu Mahasabha, the saffron party is likely to suffer a dent in its poll prospects in (Purvanchal) Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The decision to go it alone in the Assembly elections followed the Yogi's failed talks with Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Lal Krishna Advani in New Delhi. The controversial Gorakhpur MP wanted around three dozen seats for his supporters, a demand which was not acceptable to the saffron party leadership.
The differences between the Yogi and the BJP leadership over seat adjustment in four divisions of Purvanchal (the MP wanted the BJP to field Hindu Yuva Vahini volunteers) became wide open on Tuesday. Immediately on his return to Gorakhpur from New Delhi, the Yogi held a meeting with his supporters at the Maharana Pratap Inter College and announced his decision to contest the elections under a separate political party, Hindu Mahasabha.
The Hindu Mahasabha has one MLA, Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, in the current U.P. Assembly. He has been elected from the Gorakhpur City Assembly constituency with the Yogi's support.
Hindu Mahasabha candidates, mostly Hindu Yuva Vahini activists, will be fielded in around 70 seats in Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Basti and Devi Patan divisions. The first list of the rebel MP's candidates for the seats in Basti and Devi Patan divisions will be announced on Wednesday. The remaining names are likely to be announced on Thursday.
Yogi Adityanath, who once espoused the cause of strident Hindutva, was annoyed with the leadership for rejecting his demand for 35 seats in Purvanchal. Matters came to a head when the Yogi's supporters accused the State BJP leadership of leaking the list and making it public. Besides, they also accused the party leadership of rejecting the Yogi's candidates and giving ticket to persons who were opposed to the cause of Hindutva.
"When no faith is left in the party organisation some hard decisions have to be taken. I felt humiliated by the short shrift given to me," the Yogi told The Hindu from Gorakhpur, justifying his decision to field his supporters under the banner of All-India Hindu Mahasabha. Asked about his talks with Mr. Advani, the Yogi said that though the Leader of Opposition's response was favourable, "the State leadership was determined to scuttle my proposal."
However, the BJP leadership dismissed the MP's accusations and instead blamed him for the split. When contacted, president of the U.P. unit of the BJP Kesari Nath Tripathi said the party tried its best to sort out matters and accommodate some of the Yogi's men but the deal fell through on account of the Gorakhpur MP's stance.
What seemed to have irked the BJP leadership was the primacy given to Thakur candidates in the Yogi's list and his insistence to replace Brahmin candidates already fielded by the BJP with his men. This threatened to upset the BJP's upper caste card in Purvanchal.
The BJP is likely to face the heat from the Hindu Mahasabha in Kauriram, Dhuriyapaar, Pipraich, Maniram, Sahjanwa, Paniara, Pharenda, Siswa Bazar, Deoria, Salempur, Barhaj and Rudrapur Assembly constituencies in Eastern U.P.