Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominating Yogi Adityanath to contest from Gorakhpur City constituency in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh polls, he is set to become the first incumbent chief minister of UP to fight the state assembly elections in 15 years.
Then UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav had last contested direct polls in 2007. However, later CMs viz. Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had shied away from assembly polls while in office in 2012 and 2017 respectively.
In 2007 UP assembly polls, then CM and ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav had contested the direct polls, and emerged victorious from Gunnaur constituency in Sambhal district of Western UP.
However, SP lost and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) formed the next government, while Mayawati became the CM. Later, she entered the UP legislature as a member of legislative council (MLC) or the Upper House.
However, she did not contest the 2012 elections. Nonetheless, BSP lost and SP regime came into being under the stewardship of Akhilesh Yadav. After becoming the CM, Yadav was elected as an MLC after he had given up his parliamentary membership.
Likewise, Yadav also did not contest the 2017 UP assembly polls and instead forged an alliance with the Congress in an attempt to return to power in the state, which has a total of 403 assembly seats – the maximum in India.
A resurgent BJP went on to sweep the state polls by winning more than 75 percent of the total seats and forming the UP government after nearly one and half decades. Then Gorakhpur Member of Parliament (MP) Yogi Adityanath became the CM. Currently, he is also a MLC.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh, now the defence minister, was the last UP CM from the BJP stock. His dispensation lasted till March 2002 before the President’s rule was imposed in the state.
Later, Mayawati was sworn in as the CM in May 2002. However, Mulayam was made the CM in August 2003 before the UP assembly elections became due in 2007.
Before taking over as the UP CM, Yogi had served as the MP from Gorakhpur constituency for five consecutive terms from 1998 to 2017.
To field him from Gorakhpur City constituency, the BJP has replaced sitting incumbent Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, who has been representing the seat since 2002.
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On his candidature, Adityanath expressed gratitude to the BJP central parliamentary committee and exuded confidence of the saffron party returning to power for the second consecutive term in UP.