Bharatiya Janata Party released its 21st list of seven candidates from Uttar Pradesh on Monday for general elections.
Actor Ravi Kishen is the party’s nominee for Gorakhpur. In the 2014 General Elections, the 49-year-old Bhojpuri actor had contested from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh as a Congress candidate and secured only 42,759 votes. In 2017, Kishan switched over to the BJP.
Other candidates on Monday’s list are Sangam Lal Gupta from Pratapgarh, Mukut Bihari from Ambedkar Nagar, Ramapati Ram Tripathi from Deoria, KP Singh from Jaunpur and Ramesh Bind from Bhadohi.
Previously considered an important BJP stronghold that had elected Uttar Pradesh’s controversial Chief Minister Adityanath five times since 1996, Gorakhpur saw a change after almost three decades in the 2018 by-elections, when BJP lost the seat to then Samajwadi Party’s Praveen Nishad.
Before Adityanath, now the head of the Gorakhnath Math, his mentor Avaidyanath—also from the BJP—held the seat.
Adityanath, who won the seat in the 2014 general elections, vacated it after he was made chief minister of the state in 2017.
Meanwhile, Nishad, who has since his victory left the Samajwadi Party for the BJP, is being fielded Sant Kabir Nagar, an adjoining constituency.
The Samajwadi Party had tied up with a number of smaller parties, including the Nishad Party, to extend its social base beyond Yadavs and Muslims in the 2018 by-elections to Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats.
The Nishad community is the second largest demographic group in Gorakhpur.
With this BJP has announced so far 421 candidates for the ongoing general elections. It is yet to announce candidates for Delhi’s seven seats, Punjab’s three, Chandigarh’s one, and Madhya Pradesh’s five seats.
Incidentally, the BJP has fielded another Bhojpuri star, Dinesh Lal Yadav aka 'Nirahua', from Azamgarh against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. With Jaya Prada and Hema Malini also in the fray, there are now four actors contesting from the BJP in Uttar Pradesh these elections.
Although Uttar Pradesh votes in all seven phases of the ongoing general elections, Gorakhpur is schedule to vote in the last phase on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.