The BJP had to bite the dust in the bypolls in this constituencies in 2018. While, the anti-BJP alliance would like to retain its grip over both the seats, the saffron party is looking to wrest them from the opposition.
The seat was represented by Yogi Adityanath in Lok Sabha from 1998 to 2017, before he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
In the BJP’s Gorakhpur campaign, Kishan is playing second fiddle to Adityanath who has taken centre stage in the electoral fight. Sharing dais with the chief minister during poll rallies, he is often seen standing alongside the ‘maharaj’ with folded hands.
Regarded as the fiefdom of the Gorakhnath peeth, the seat with 19.54 lakh voters has 10 candidates in the fray. However, the main fight is between Kishan, Congress’ Madhusudan Tripathi and SP’s Rambhual Nishad.
BJP’s shock defeat in Gorakhpur during the 2018 bypolls was a massive loss of face for the party, coming months after its emphatic win in the 2017 Assembly elections.
The election on the seat, this time round, is being treated by the party and loyalists as an opportunity to avenge the humiliation and restore faith in the leadership of Yogi Adityanath.
“The fight on the seat is to retain the pride of Maharaj. The Hindu Yuva Vahini and BJP are one in the contest this time round and are in the campaigning as one unit,” zonal vice president of BJP Satyendra Singh said.
Adityanath has addressed over two dozen rallies in the constituency. Lending all out support is the Hindu Yuva Vahini, founded by Adityanath, has been actively involved in the campaigning with the CM asking for presence of one worker each of the BJP and the HYV at all booths.
Since the defeat in the bypoll had also been attributed to the low turn out, the major focus is on increasing polling percentage in Gorakhpur city.
To counter the ‘outsider’ tag, Ravi Kishan visited his native Maamkhor village from where his ancestors migrated two-three generations ago to the neighbouring Jaunpur. Kishan is also banking on his popularity, getting his selfies clicked with youth and women.
“Yogi ji has brought me here. We are hoping for a record win now,” Kishan stresses.
On Modi, he has said, “I am very much inspired by the life of Modi ji. In 2014, I heard Modi ji speak about toilets. For the first time, I saw a prime minister with such an outlook. I was impressed.”
Kishan said actor-turned-politicians like NT Rama Rao and Vinod Khanna inspire him and he wants to project himself as a serious politician just like them.
He has also said he will make a biopics on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Swami Vivekanada and former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Bhojpuri. He will start working on these films once the general elections get over, he said.
Regarding his career prospects in the film industry after entering politics, Kishan said he will continue to work in cinema.
“I will not stop working as an actor and film maker. I plan to make a studio here in Gorakhpur after the elections. Both, social service and film making will go hand in hand,” Ravi Kishan said.
The SP-BSP alliance
The SP-BSP alliance candidate Ram Bhuwal Nishad belongs to the dominant fishermen caste ― around 3.5 lakh in Gorakhpur ― is a fact that suits the alliance.
“We are confident that history will repeat itself and the alliance will once again be pulling down the BJP fortress here. I have the support of the poor and the oppressed,” said Nishad.
Besides other issues, the alliance is raising local issues including death of children in the BRD Medical College Hospital, charging it was due to government apathy, Samajwadi Party leader Zafar Amin Dakku told PTI.
(With PTI inputs)