SHAH SAYS NOT MOV­ING UP DY CM TO DELHI BJP Sure of a Cake­walk in Mau­rya-held Phulpur Amid Buzz of Maya Con­test­ing

Does not ex­pect BSP chief to ‘risk’ her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer by con­test­ing by­poll Not Join­ing Cab, 2019 Vic­tory to be Big­ger: Shah

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: BJP is con­fi­dent of win­ning the by­poll to UP’s Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, which is set to be va­cated by­deputyCMKPMau­rya.

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 thanthree­lakhvotes,”ase­niorstate party of­fi­cial said.

Theis­sueof by­pollsinPhulpu­rand 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 VPSingh.Nehruheldthe­seatthrice, 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 work­donebyMau­rya­here,es­pe­cially re­gard­ing so­lar en­ergy. It should be a cake­walk,” a BJP leader said.

BJP chief Amit Shah has ruled out join­ing the Union Cab­i­net, say­ing he was sat­is­fied be­ing the party pres­i­dent. “There is no ques­tion. I have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing BJP pres­i­dent. I am happy and sat­is­fied with that role and I am do­ing it with full vigour,” Shah said in Luc­know at a press con­fer­ence. The BJP pres­i­dent also said BJP will win 2019 Lok Sabha elec­tions with a big­ger ma­jor­ity than in 2014.

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