Why did Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath not attend the nomination of BJP candidate of Gorakhpur, Ravi Kishan on Tuesday? Was it a way to tell the party high command that the candidate selected to contest in the elections from Gorakhpur is not of his choice and therefore he is not concerned whether the party candidate wins or loses?
Being a Mahant of Gorakhnath temple and a five time MP from Gorakhpur, it was expected that Yogi will accompany Bhojpuri singer Ravi Kishan during his nomination and even address the rally thereafter. But it did not happen, giving rise to political gossip regarding whether Yogi actually wants Ravi Kishan to lose the election.
Ravi Kishan, alias Ravindra Narain Shukla knows the importance of Yogi in Gorakhpur therefore he tried to downplay Yogi’s absence during his nomination as he said that he would serve the people of Gorakhpur by keeping the khadaoon (wooden slipper) of Maharaj ji (as Yogi is known among his followers in eastern Uttar Pradesh).
“Maharaj ji was supposed to bless me during my nomination but because of his prior engagements he could not come. I have got his blessings. He is the one who picked me to contest election from Gorakhpur. Do you think without his consent it was possible to get a BJP ticket from Gorakhpur,” said Ravi Kishan in a telephone conversation.
Incidentally, since Ravi Kishan’s name has been announced as the BJP candidate, the Bhojpuri actor had held two political events in the city. On April 18 he held a road-show which CM Yogi did not attend. Ravi Kishan told reporters then that Maharaj ji will bless him during the filing of nomination papers. On Tuesday, April 23, he filed his papers and then also Yogi Adityanath did not come to Gorakhpur.
A senior BJP leader said that Yogi ji was busy with his election meetings. He is much in demand from various parts of the state and the country therefore he was not present when Gorakhpur candidate filed nomination papers. “Moreover, the chief minister generally does not accompany candidates when they file papers. Gorakhpur belongs to Yogi. People will vote for BJP on Yogi’s name so do not try to give a colour to this,” the BJP leader said.
The argument given by the BJP leader does not hold water as Yogi would be attending a rally in Chandauli and would accompany BJP state president Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey during filling of papers on Wednesday. Dr Pandey is contesting from Chandauli.
A section of BJP leaders opines that Yogi does not want a second rank of leadership to emerge in Gorakhpur. Therefore, a weak candidate was fielded in this politically sensitive constituency and secondly he wants to tell people that he has nothing to do with this selection and if Ravi Kishan loses, he should not be blamed.
Ravi Kishan is concerned about this ongoing controversy and said that with the blessings of Baba Gorakhnath, the BJP is going to win 73 plus seats in UP. “People will vote in the name of Modi and Yogi,” he said.
Ravi Kishan would be facing SP candidate Ram Bhuwal Nishad who had replaced sitting MP Praveen Nishad after the latter joined BJP last month. Gorakhpur goes to poll on May 19.