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UP’s Gola Gokarannath Assembly By-Poll Tomorrow; BJP, SP ready for big fight

India’s Election Commission is set to conduct a poll in Uttar Pradesh’s Gola Gokarannath constituency in Lakhimpur Kheri on Nov. 3. The bypol will see an uphill battle between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP).

The BSP and Congress are staying away from the poll this time.

The bypoll was needed after BJP MLA Arvind Giri died on September 6.

The main match is likely to be between BJP’s Aman Giri, Arvind Giri’s son, and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate and former Gola Gokarannath MLA Vinay Tiwari. More than 3.90 lakh voters will decide the fate of seven participants in the battle.

Despite a wave of sympathy for Giri after his father’s death, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has left nothing to chance and has delegated 40-star campaigners, including all key ministers and party officials.

The BJP’s campaign was led by Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Gola Gokarannath is part of the Kheri parliamentary constituency of Ajay Mishra Teni. Mishra has been in the eye of a storm following the alleged murder of four farmers last October, of which his son is a suspect.

Adityanath, in his campaign speech, assured the electorate of clearing sugar cane rights at the earliest, by establishing a Chhoti Kashi corridor (along the lines of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi) and a medical university.

He urged the people to choose Giri to continue his father’s legacy.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) campaign was led by Naresh Uttam Patel, the head of the state unit, with the support of National Secretary General Ravi Prakash Verma, former ministers and other office holders. The SP leaders maintained door-to-door contacts and held public meetings to win over voters. Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, however, did not campaign.

The outcome of the bypoll will not have much of an impact on the state government as the BJP and its allies will enjoy an overwhelming majority in the 403 member assembly. But it would be a showdown between the rivals in the run-up to the 2024 general election.

The SP candidate represented Gola Gokarannath in 2012 when the constituency was split after the abolition of the then Hyderabad segment.

Before 2012, Kheri district had seven Assembly segments – Mohammadi, Hyderabad, Paila, Lakhimpur, Srinagar, Nighasan and Dhaurahra.

After the 2012 demarcation, while retaining Mohammadi, Lakhimpur, Srinagar, Nighasan and Dhaurahra, three new constituencies – Kasta, Paliya and Gola Gokarannath – were added and Paila and Hyderabad abolished.

Arvind Giri joined the BJP ahead of the 2017 polls and fought Tiwari of the SP from his own constituency.

Riding the Modi wave and his own ground support, Giri sacked the SP’s seat in 2017, and Giri retained the seat in the 2022 polls.

Issues relating to farmers, including reed rights, crop harvesting and flooding, will feature prominently in the polls.

Adityanath urged the people to fulfill Arvind Giri’s dream and promised to participate in the ceremony of the foundation of the promised Chhoti Kashi Gang.

(with PTI inputs)

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