Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BJP's 'Hindutva' mascot Yogi Adityanath may be addressing rallies in favour of his party nominees in the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections, back home the saffron clad 'mahant' of the Gorakhnath Temple faces an acid test in the forthcoming by-polls on 11 assembly seats.
Although the BJP had won nine of the 11 seats, where by-polls were slated to be held on October 21, in the 2017 assembly elections, the saffron party, especially Adityanath, had made repeatedly asserted that the party would make a clean sweep of the by-polls.
BJP leaders here said that the by-polls had assumed added significance as they were being held at a time, when the Adityanath government had a little more than half of its term in the office.
Though the opposition was divided and the Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP alliance was no longer there yet the BJP was not taking any chances and had deployed its ministers to ensure victory in the by-polls. Of the 11 seats going to the by-polls, the SP and BSP had won one seat each.
Adityanath had taken upon himself to make sure that the BJP not only retained its nine seats but also wrested two seats from the opponents also. The chief minister has been addressing election meetings in all the poll-bound constituencies in a bid to galvanize the party workers.
BJP sources said that the saffron party eyed the Rampur assembly seat, which was considered to be the bastion of senior SP leader and party MP Azam Khan. The SP has fielded Azam Khan's wife from the seat.
Similarly, the BJP has also set its eyes on the Jalalpur assembly seat in the Ambedkar Nagar district. The seat was won by the BSP in 2017 assembly polls.