Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his two Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma are among five candidates put up by the BJP for the September 15 MLC bypolls in the state.
State ministers Swantatra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza, the sole Muslim candidate in the state government, will also contest the bypoll.
The bypolls were necessitated due to the resignation of four Samajwadi Party (SP) and one Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLCs.
The five BJP candidates are not members of either House of the state legislature. They have to become members of either House by September 19, six months from the date they were sworn in as ministers. Earlier, the Election Commission had released the poll schedule for four seats - vacated by Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh, Sarojini Agarwal, and Ashok Bajpai of the SP, giving some anxious moments to MoS Transport Swatantra Dev Singh and Minority Welfare MoS Mohsin Raza as only one of them could have made it to the House. The poll panel however solved the problem of the BJP by releasing the poll schedule for the fifth seat vacated by BSP's Jaiveer Singh. The term of Nawab and Singh was to end in 2022 and that of Agarwal and Bajpai in 2021. However, they quit this month all of a sudden. Sarojini Agarwal, Ashok Bajpai and Bukkal Nawab have since joined the BJP. The notification for bypolls to the seats was issued on August 29, and the last date of filing nominations is September 5. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is September 8.
Polling will be held on September 15 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Counting of votes will be done on the same day at 5 p.m.
The poll process will be completed before September 18, the poll panel said.
By choosing to go to the Upper House, Adityanth joins the list of his predecessors Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, who too were members of the Legislative Council.
Adityanath, who was sworn in as Chief Minister of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh on March 19, is a member of the Lok Sabha from Gorakhpur.
Maurya, who is Deputy Chief Minister, is a Lok Sabha member from Phoolpur. Dinesh Sharma, another Deputy Chief Minister, was the Lucknow mayor before he was sworn in as Adityanath's deputy. Both Adityanath and Maurya are yet to quit their respective Lok Sabha seats.
Opposition parties say the BJP maneuvered the resignation of SP and BSP legislators to facilitate the entry of the Chief Minister and four others to the Upper House as "they were afraid of going to the people and taking the direct election route".