Exuding confidence that the BJP would sweep the ongoing Lok Sabha bypolls in the state, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday said the 2014 Lok Sabha record would be repeated by the saffron party.
"I am confident that on March 14, the record which was made in Phulpur in 2014 (Lok Sabha general elections) will be repeated, and our candidate Kaushalendra Patel will emerge victorious," he told reporters after casting his vote for Phulpur parliamentary constituency along with his family members.
Voting for the bye-elections to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats commenced today amid tight security.
The bypolls were necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the deputy chief minister vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively, following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
On being asked about the BJP's expansion plans in the state in view of the electoral understanding between SP and BSP, Maurya said, "We have already expanded enough, and in future, if any political party wants to join us, it will be definitely deliberated upon.
"But, today from the UP's point of view, the poll alliance of the BJP, Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) exists. Apart from this, we do not have any other alliance. And, banking on this alliance, we will win 80 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state," he said.
Taking a jibe at the SP-BSP tie-up, the minister said, "Their (SP-BSP) votes will be transferred only when they have enough votes. The votes (of the people) are with us. But, they have only leaders who make statements. The voters of Mayawatiji have deserted the BSP and have reposed their faith in Modiji, Yogi and BJP. We are winning both the Lok Sabha seats and with wider margin".
Termed as a "rehearsal" for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the bye-elections are witnessing a triangular contest between the ruling BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress.
The saffron party has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP's Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, respectively. The Congress has nominated Sureetha Kareem for Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra for Phulpur Lok Sabha seat.
Ten candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur in the bypolls.
According to the Election Commission, polling percentage of 5.8 percent was reported from the state till 9.00 am, This includes 4.8 percent polling in Phulpur and 6.8 percent polling in Gorakhpur. — PTI