Lucknow: Now that the presidential elections are over and Ram Nath Kovind has entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan, BJP chief Amit Shah has turned his attention to Uttar Pradesh, where Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya are once again facing poll battles.
Adityanath, who is an MP from Gorakhpur, and Maurya, an MP from Phoolpur, will have to vacate their seats and contest assembly elections within the next two months if they want to continue in office. The Constitutional mandates they have to become a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council within six months of assuming office.
The buzz in the political corridors, however, is that Maurya may not continue as the deputy CM and will be told to retain his parliamentary seat to block Mayawati’s attempts to regain entry to the House. There have been rumblings that she is planning to contest for the seat as a joint candidate of BSP, SP and Congress once Maurya resigns. Instead, he may be given a ministerial berth at the Centre.
Sources said that Yogi will resign as MP after Shah’s three-day Lucknow visit starting on July 29. Yogi has decided against taking the safer route through the State Legislative Council, like former CMs Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had done, and will fight MLA elections.
The BJP chief will prepare the poll strategy once he reaches Lucknow. Sources in the BJP said he would meet senior state leaders to finalise the seat from where Yogi will contest. Many BJP MLAs have shown their willingness to resign to make way for Yogi. He is likely to choose Gorakhpur city seat, which is held by a close aide.
Apart from these two, the BJP is also busy preparing a strategy for the other deputy CM, Dr Dinesh Sharma, as well as minister of state Mohsin Raza and transport minister Dev Singh as they are not a part of any House yet. Sharma is likely to enter the Upper House and has already been declared Leader of the House in the Legislative Council.
When questioned, BJP spokesman Rakesh Tripathi remained tight lipped about the plans. “CM Yogi Adityanath and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya are members of the Lok Sabha. The Constitutional obligation is that they have to become a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council in six months. The party leadership will decide when they would resign and what House they will join,” he said.