The Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency that has been represented by the head priest of Gorakhnath Peeth for 28 years will get a new MP who will not be temple chief. The legislator may not even be from the Peeth. The seat will have to be vacated by Yogi Adityanath. As he is now the chief minister, Adityanath will have to become a member of the UP Legislative Assembly or Council.
“Whoever replaces him as the candidate for the Gorakhpur seat, he may be a person from the temple or from BJP. But one thing is for sure. The person would be picked by Adityanath,” said a temple official. Adityanath is the MP from Gorakhpur for the fifth consecutive term. He won the seat in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
Adityanath has given no indication who his successor will be, and the process of selecting a head priest is time consuming. As Adityanath is yet to visit the temple after becoming chief minister – his visit is expected on March 25 – administrative staff are looking after routine work at present.
“The anointment of a head priest is a time-taking task in which the successor goes through training for social and religious work before taking responsibility of the temple,” said a leader of Hindu Yuva Vahini, an outfit founded by Adityanath.
BJP president of Gorakhpur, Upendra Shukla, said: “Its too early to comment (on the seat). It will be better if Mahantji (Adityanath) is asked the question because the Gorakhpur seat belongs to him so far.” BJP insiders said Adityanath may contest the Assembly elections from any seat in Gorakhpur or an adjoining district but his choice could be the Gorakhpur Urban constituency.
BJP’s Radha Mohan Das Agrawal is MLA of Gorakhpur Urban and is known to be close to Adityanath, who had supported him as Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha candidate against BJP nominee Shiv Pratap Shukla in 2002. BJP MLA from Caimpiyarganj in Gorakhpur, Fateh Bahadur, has announced he would vacate his seat if Adityanath required it. “Campiyarganj is safe seat for the BJP. If the CM wishes to contest, I will happily vacate the seat for him because it will be in the interest of the entire state,” Bahadur told The Indian Express.
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