Chandauli: Campaigning for BJP for ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday sought to entice voters with the names of Bhojpuri actors who have joined the saffron party. (Also read: PM Modi Slams Congress For Not Testing Anti-satellite Missile Despite Capability)

He said, “Hum do Bhojpuri kalakaron ko chunaav lada rahe hain; ek Azamgarh, aur ek Gorakhpur se. Mumbai se pakad ke laye hain inko, zabardasti laye hain ki ab poorvi UP ke liye bhi kuchh karo. Jab yeh kalakaar sansad banenge to poorvi UP mein bhi filmcity ban sakti hai (We have got two Bhojpuri artistes to fight elections this time; one from Azamgarh and the other from Gorakhpur. We especially got them from Mumbai and asked them to do something for the welfare of eastern Uttar Pradesh as well. When these people join Parliament, then eastern UP may also get its own Filmcity).”

BJP has fielded Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav aka Nirahua from Azamgarh where he is pitted against SP chief  Akhilesh Yadav. From Gorakhpur, the saffron party has fielded Ravi Kishan.

Nirahua has been awarded Yash Bharti by then SP government in 2016 and he got it from none other than Yadav. Ravi Kishan has been extremely vocal about how the Gorakhpur seat belongs to Yogi (who is also the mahant of Gorakhnath temple).

Local media reports have quoted Ravi Kishan as going to the extent of saying that if he wins, he will carry Yogi’s slippers to put on his seat and will work for the public as the latter’s representative.

In 2014, Mulayam Singh Yadav won the Azamgarh seat. Azamgarh has a significant Muslim-Yadav population and has been won by either the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party since 1996, with the exception of 2009 when local strongman Ramakant Yadav had won.

Gorakhpur is one seat that always has gone to the candidate backed by the temple. When it was vacated by Yogi after his elevation as the CM, the 2018 by-polls saw Praveen Nishad win with the support of SP. That was a historic win as Nishad wrested the seat that had been held by BJP for three decades, However, recently, Praveen also joined BJP.