Yogi turns to Bhojpuri star Kishan to save bastion

Praveen Nishad from Sant Kabir Nagar

Ravi Kishan in a BJP election campaign rally. (Twitter)

After much dilly-dallying BJP finally zeroed in on 'Bhojpuri' film star Ravi Kishan to wrest Gorakhpur, the home town of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, from the Samajwadi Party (SP).

Ravi Kishan would be the second 'Bhojpuri' film star to enter the fray. Earlier the saffron party made Dinesh Lal Yadav alias Nirahua its nominee on Azamgarh LS seat to take on SP president Akhilesh Yadav.

Ravi Kishan, who has a large fan following in the eastern UP districts, had contested from Jaunpur LS seat in 2014 general elections on Congress ticket but lost. He joined the BJP in 2017.

Gorakhpur LS seat has become a prestige issue for Adityanath, who had represented the seat in Lok Sabha since 2004. He, however, resigned after his anointment as CM of UP in 2017.

In the by-poll, the BJP fielded Upendra Shukla ending 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.

Shukla, however, suffered a humiliating defeat in the by-poll. SP nominee Praveen Nishad, who was supported by the BSP and Nishad Party, a caste-based outfit, captured the Adityanath fort much to the shock of the saffron party.

Apparently desperate to wrest the constituency from the SP, Adityanath successfully wooed the Nishad Party by offering it one LS seat and a Rajya Sabha berth for its president Sanjay Nishad. 

Praveen Nishad too joined the BJP and has been given BJP ticket from the neighbouring Sant Kabir Nagar LS seat. SP has fielded Ram Bhual Nishad on Gorakhpur seat in the hope of getting the 'Nishad' (boatmen/fishermen) community votes, which numbered around four lakh. 

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