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Elections

Gola Gokarannath Assembly bypoll tomorrow; BJP and SP up for big fight

LUCKNOW: Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the November 3 bypoll in Gola Gokarannath constituency in Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP and the SP will fight it out. The BSP and the Congress are keeping away from the poll this time.

”Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the polls. The polling will start from 7 am and will end at 6 pm on Thursday,” an official of the Election Commission (EC) said here.

The bypoll was necessitated after BJP MLA Arvind Giri died on September 6. Over 3.90 lakh voters will decide the fate of seven contestants in the fray. The main contest is likely to be between the BJP’s Aman Giri, the son of Arvind Giri, and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate and former Gola Gokarannath MLA Vinay Tiwari. Despite a wave of sympathy for Giri following the death of his father, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not left anything to chance and deputed 40 star campaigners, including all major Cabinet ministers and party office-bearers.

The BJP’s campaign was led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Gola Gokarannath is part of Ajay Mishra Teni’s Kheri parliamentary constituency. Mishra has been in the eye of a storm following the alleged killing of four farmers last October, in which his son is an accused. Adityanath, in his speech, during campaigning assured the electorate of clearing sugarcane dues at the earliest, establishment of a Chhoti Kashi corridor (along the lines of Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi) and a medical college.

He urged the people to elect Giri so as to carry on the legacy of his father.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) campaign was led by its state unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel with support from National General Secretary Ravi Prakash Verma, former ministers and other office-bearers. The SP leaders conducted door-to-door contacts and held public meetings to woo the electorate. Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, however, did not campaign. The outcome of the bypoll will not have much impact on the state government with the BJP and its allies enjoying an overwhelming majority in the 403-member Assembly. But it would be a test of strength between the rivals in the run-up to the 2024 general elections.

The SP candidate had represented Gola Gokarannath in 2012, when the constituency was carved out after abolishing the then-Hyderabad segment.

Before 2012, Kheri district had seven Assembly segments — Mohammadi, Hyderabad, Paila, Lakhimpur, Srinagar, Nighasan and Dhaurahra.

After the 2012 delimitation, while Mohammadi, Lakhimpur, Srinagar, Nighasan and Dhaurahra were retained, three new constituencies — Kasta, Paliya and Gola Gokarannath — were added, and Paila and Hyderabad abolished. Arvind Giri joined the BJP ahead of the 2017 polls and contested from his native constituency against the SP’s Tiwari. Riding on the Modi-wave and his own ground support, Giri wrested the seat from the SP in 2017, and in the 2022 polls, Giri retained the seat.

Issues related to farmers, including cane dues, crop procurement and floods, assume prominence during the polls.

Urging the people to fulfil Arvind Giri’s dream, Adityanath promised to participate in the foundation laying ceremony of the promised Chhoti Kashi corridor.

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