LUCKNOW: To take on the BJP, arch-rivals Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) are likely to enter into an alliance for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh.
An official announcement is likely soon, sources in the two political parties told Zee News. The decision of BSP and SP to join hands was taken during a marathon meeting at BSP supremo Mayawati’s residence on Thursday.
Akhilesh Yadav-led SP will field candidates for both the constituencies while the BSP will support SP's candidate from Phulpur, the sources added.
Voting for Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls will be held on March 11 and the votes will be counted on March 14.
The coming together of the BSP and the SP – once bitter rivals – is being viewed as an attempt to stall the BJP wave in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The two seats in Uttar Pradesh fell vacant after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya resigned from the Lok Sabha to take up the new responsibilities last year.
The BJP has fielded former Varanasi mayor Kaushlendra Singh Patel as its candidate from Phulpur while Upendra Shukla would contest from Gorakhpur.
Gorakhpur assumes significance as it is the bastion of Adityanath, who has represented the seat in Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Adityanath, Gorakhpur was thrice represented in the Parliament by his mentor Avaidyanath.
Phulpur, once the bastion of the Congress, was represented by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The BJP won the seat for the first time in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In February, the Congress and the SP, alliance partners in the UP assembly elections, decided to contest the bypolls separately. The Congress named Dr Sureetha and Manish Mishra as contestants for Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, respectively.