Mayawati may be pitched as the joint Opposition candidate in the Lok Sabha bypoll in Phulpur. The BJP, however, is likely to stop the BSP chief in her tracks.
The presidential elections are over and NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind was sworn-in as the President of India today.
To ensure the BJP had the numbers in the Presidential elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya continued as Members of Parliament (MPs).
The Constitution mandates that both Yogi Adityanath and Keshav Prasad Maurya must resign as MPs and contest a bypoll from an assembly constituency within six months of assuming the office.
Once the vice-presidential elections are held, Yogi Adityanath, who is a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, is expected to resign from Parliament and contest a bypoll in an assembly constituency.
However, speculations are rife that Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is the MP from Phulpur, could be asked by the BJP to hold on to his constituency and could be given a ministerial berth in the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
MAYAWATI IS EYEING PHULPUR
The buzz in the political corridors is that Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, whose resignation from Rajya Sabha was recently accepted, could contest the Lok Sabha bypoll from Phulpur.
The constituency will be vacant once Keshav Prasad Maurya resigns from Parliament.
Following the massive defeat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, Mayawati plans to kick off an outreach programme to revive her party’s fortunes.
Starting September, she will hold a rally on 18th of every month in every division of Uttar Pradesh till May 18th next year. The date is symbolic as it coincides with the date she resigned from Rajya Sabha for not being allowed to speak on Dalit atrocities in Parliament.
There are also talks of projecting Mayawati as the joint Opposition candidate from Phulpur constituency in case of a Lok Sabha by-poll.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, political pundits see this as an attempt to test waters for a probable Grand Alliance between Congress, Samajwadi Party and the BSP.
BJP HAS OTHER PLANS
In a scenario where a recharged Mayawati, with backing from other parties, has a shot at winning the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, the BJP strategists may want to stop her in her tracks.
Political corridor is abuzz with speculation that the BJP is likely to ask Keshav Prasad Maurya to continue as a Member of Parliament (MP) and bring him to Delhi as a minister in the Modi government.
With the Lok Sabha by-poll in Phulpur ruled out, the other option for Mayawati could be to contest from Gorakhpur, where the BJP has a strong presence.
It will a difficult contest for Mayawati in Gorakhpur, which has voted for Yogi Adityanath in five previous Lok Sabha elections.