UP By-Poll: BJP Likely To Retain Gola Gokarn Nath But With A Reduced Margin
BJP won this seat in the 2017 and 2022 assembly elections.
The BJP candidate is seen as relatively inexperienced, while the SP candidate has been an MLA from the same constituency in the past.
The major contenders have filed their nominations for Gola Gokarn Nath assembly by-polls in Uttar Pradesh.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Aman Giri filed his nomination on Tuesday (11 October), the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Vinay Tiwari filed his nomination a day earlier on Monday.
The assembly constituency lies in the Lakhimpur Kheri district. It fell vacant following the death of the sitting BJP MLA Arvind Giri on 6 September 2022 due to a heart attack, necessitating the by-polls.
Arvind Giri was a five-time MLA from the area and now the BJP has picked up his 26-year-old son Aman Giri. Whereas the SP has continued showing trust in Vinay Tiwari despite the last two defeats.
A brief history
Gola Gokarn Nath is a relatively new assembly constituency formed after the delimitation exercise of 2008. The first election on this seat was held during the 2012 assembly elections of UP.
2012 is the year when Akhilesh Yadav became the Chief Minister of the state and in the Samajwadi wave, Vinay Tiwari too won the elections. Since then, he has been contesting from this seat itself.
However, Arvind Giri defeated Tiwari in the 2017 and 2022 assembly elections in the BJP waves. It should be noted that Giri fought against Tiwari in 2012 too but on a Congress ticket and was defeated.
Giri used to contest in this area earlier too when it came under Haiderabad assembly constituency. He was a student leader and joined SP in 1994. He won Haiderabad thrice on an SP ticket in 1996, 2002 and 2007.
Thus, the SP managed to keep the seat to itself continuously for more than two decades.
However, the BJP's last two victories means that further analysis is required before making prediction for the bypoll.
The bar chart below shows how Gola Gokran Nath has voted in the past three assembly elections. Arvind Giri got his lowest share of votes when he contested on a Congress ticket, while his fortunes changed after joining BJP.
On the other hand, Vinay Tiwari has shown consistent performance, if we ignore the vote share dip in the 2017 elections, with 37 per cent of the vote share.
The similar amount of increase in SP's vote share and decrease in BSP's vote share in 2022 from 2017 indicates that the voters shifted from BSP to SP, while the BJP remained at a constant vote share.
This might be a worrying sign for the BJP because the BSP has not announced its candidate yet and may not contest the elections at all.
This might lead to another chunk of the vote going from the BSP to the SP in a bipolar contest.
On the other hand, the BJP too can get the BSP's vote, as has been the case in many other seats.
Observers say that the BJP's other weakness is its candidate. Aman Giri is relatively inexperienced and is contesting his first election, while his opponent has contested many elections and has been an MLA in the past.
While Aman Giri may have the voters' sympathy due to his father's demise, the SP candidate could also try to create sympathy in his favour by invoking the passing away of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Also, Vinay Tiwari appears to have a personal appeal in the constituency, as one can see from the votes he received, even in unfavourable situations. On the other hand, Aman Giri's personal popularity is definitely lesser than his father's.
But the good news for the BJP is that its victory margin was more than 11 per cent in the elections held just a few months ago, which makes it difficult for the SP to catch up with.
Also, CM Yogi Adityanath's popularity has not gone anywhere and will likely benefit the BJP candidate.
In the final analysis, the BJP looks set to retain Gola Gokarn Nath, but with a reduced margin.
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