No Gorakshapeeth's member in bypoll race

No Gorakshapeeth's member in bypoll race

Tradition which lasted 29 years comes to an end

After around three decades the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat, where a bypoll is scheduled for March 11, will not have a representative from the Gorakhsanath Peeth of which Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was the 'Mahant' (chief).

The candidature of Upendra Shukla from the BJP has ended the 29-year long relationship between the Gorakhpur LS constituency and the Gorakhnath Temple.

The then 'mahant' of the temple Avaidyanath, the guru of Adityanath, had won the seat for the first time in 1989.

The by-poll was necessitated by the resignation of Adityanath, who had been representing the seat since 2004, after his anointment as Uttar Pradesh's chief minister.

According to the sources within the BJP in Gorakhpur, Adityanath as well as a section of the local saffron leaders wanted Yogi Kamalnath from the Gorakhnath Temple as the party nominee.

They felt that any one from the Temple would have little difficulty in retaining the seat as the Peeth commanded considerable influence in the town as well as in the nearby areas.

''Local caste equations, however, forced our hand.....we could not have ignored them,'' remarked a senior state BJP leader here.

Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded an OBC leader as its nominee apparently with an eye on the 'Nishad' community voters.

Sources said that the saffron party did not want to ''annoy'' the Brahmin voters, who numbered around 1.5 lakh in the constituency. BJP had made Shiv Pratap Shukla, considered to be a rival of Yogi in Gorakhpur, a union minister after Adityanath's anointment as UP chief minister to ''placate'' the Brahmins.