By Prarthana Mitra
The Samajwadi Party (SP) swept the three Lok Sabha seats that were up for grabs in the Uttar Pradesh bypolls yesterday, including the Gorakhpur seat vacated by chief minister Adityanath when he joined the state assembly last year. Party president Akhilesh Yadav told the media he was happy that people have responded to BJP’s “misgovernance”.
Amid great tumult, confusion and unlikely alliances, the SP’s Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel defeated the BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel by 59,460 votes to win the Phulpur seat, which had been vacated by the BJP’s Keshav Prasad Maurya when he became deputy chief minister.
In Bihar, where parliamentary and assembly seats were being contested, the Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) won in Jehanabad assembly seat, defeating the Janata Dal United’s Abhiram Sharma, while the BJP won the Bhabua assembly seat, the party’s only victory in these by-elections. The RJD’s Sarfaraj Alam also won the Araria Lok Sabha seat, defeating the BJP’s Pradip Singh by a margin of over 60,000 votes.
Victory of an unlikely alliance
The victories in Phulpur and Gorakhpur of the SP-BSP alliance has proved to be a big setback for the BJP.
In the prestigious Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat, the home turf of Adityanath, the SP’s Praveen Kumar Nishad defeated the BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla. The opposition camp was quick to break into celebration, with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee congratulating Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav for the win.
During a pre-poll rally at Raptinagar, Shukla had said the election symbolised a “battle of honour” for not just Gorakhpur but also Yogi Adityanath”. After the BJP’s loss became apparent, Adityanath attributed the defeat to over-confidence and said the party plans to “review the shortcomings,” while UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey attributed it to the low voter turnout.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 14, 2018
With 2019 Lok Sabha election in sight, the opposition parties are looking at the victories in UP and Bihar as proof that the BJP can be toppled . According to NDTV, SP lawmaker Dharmendra Yadav has reportedly requested his party chief and the opposition leadership to “continue this alliance” till 2019.
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