Lucknow, Sep 24 : The coming by-elections on 11 Assembly seats on October 21 in this most populated state of the country, are going to set the pace for the emergence of a principal opposition party, which will contest against BJP in the 2022 state Assembly elections.
The bypolls are scheduled to be held in Rampur, Jalalpur, Pratapgarh, Lucknow Cantonment, Gangoh, Manikpur, Balha (SC), Iglas (SC), Zaidpur (SC), Govindpur and Ghosi seats.
Ghosi seat in Mau district was vacated by BJP member Phagu Chauhan, after he was appointed Governor of Bihar.
Except for Rampur and Jalalpur, all the seats were held by BJP. In Rampur, SP member Mohammad Azam Khan resigned, after being elected to the Lok Sabha, while from Jalalpur in Ambedkarnagar district, BSP member Ritesh Pandey resigned, after winning the Ambedkarnagar LS seat. After the notification for the bypolls to 11 Assembly seats was announced on Monday, the nomination process also started. However, no party filed any nomination on Monday.
The last date for filing of nominations is September 30. Papers would be scrutinised the following day, while October 3 is the last date for withdrawals. BJP has yet not announced its candidate for any seat and the party is waiting for Hamirpur Assembly bypoll results, which will come out on October 27.
The by-election, the first to be held after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has been necessitated, due to the disqualification of sitting BJP MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel, following his conviction in a murder case. BJP has prepared a panel of probable candidates for all the seats and three names each have been kept on every seat.
Party's State General Secretary (Organisation) Sunil Bansal left for Delhi on Monday, along with a list of all the candidates and the final names will be decided after a nod from the high command. On the other hand, Congress has announced its candidates on all seats, except Balha (SC). The names of the candidates have been finalised, after Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's consent.
However, the organisational structure of Congress is in a morbid state in UP. Following Raj Babbar's resignation as the state president, no other individual has been appointed for the post. Ms Vadra has decided on the names of possible contenders, after a talk with the party's senior leaders.
Congress is in a bad shape in Uttar Pradesh since the past 30 years and the party hasn't tasted power in the state, since 1989. The party continues to deteriorate, election after election in the state.
The grand-old party, which won the Amethi and Raebareli seats in the General elections of 2014, only managed to win party president Sonia Gandhi's Raebareli seat, in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls. The party also lost its bastion Amethi, where BJP's Smriti Irani managed to defeat Congress scion Rahul Gandhi.
In a similar way, despite its alliance with the Samajwadi Party in 2017 Assembly elections in the state, Congress only managed to win seven seats in UP. The voters, clearly, did not like the 'Rahul and Akhilesh bonhomie.' On the other hand, Samajwadi Party has become weaker after the exit of Shivpal Singh Yadav. Although the SP stitched a much-hyped alliance with the BSP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it only managed to win five seats, whereas the party had won five seats in 2014 as well.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav is also yet to decide the candidates on all seats going for the Assembly bypolls. The party wants to fight the elections along with smaller parties and it has been in talks with Suheldev Samaj Party for the same. Apart from this, there is conjecture that Akhilesh's wife Dimple Yadav may contest from Rampur seat.
BSP, on the other hand, is gearing up for the bypolls, after a long gap. The party did not fight several by-elections till recently, but party honcho Mayawati will now enter the by-election battlefield to boost her strength in the state Assembly.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, BSP had managed to secure only 19 seats, which has now decreased to 18.
Mayawati is keen to display that only the BSP and not the Congress or SP can take on the BJP in the state. BSP had managed to win 10 seats in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 after a 'gathbandhan' with the SP, whereas the party was unable to open its account in the 2014 General elections.
However, BSP has lost some strength after the party leaders, associated with the grassroots, either left the party or were expelled.
Mithai Lal, who has a significant hold on Ballia, joined the SP, while Kaushambi and Prayagraj district presidents were expelled by the BSP supremo, for anti-party activities. Former MLA from Bijnor, Ruchi Veera was also expelled by Ms Mayawati from the party recently.(UNI)