BJP suffers shock defeat in 3 LS bypolls
Shemin Joy, DH News Service, New Delhi, Mar 15 2018, 1:24 IST
Samajwadi Party workers celebrate party's success in Lok Sabha by-elections, at party headquarters in Lucknow on Wednesday. PTI Photo
The BJP suffered a serious setback ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections as it lost the Lok Sabha byelections in its bastions of Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh to the undeclared alliance of the SP and BSP.
The SP candidates defeated the BJP nominees in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, which were held by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively.
While SP nominee Nagendra Singh Patel defeated BJP’s Kaushalendra Singh Patel by around 59,000 votes in Phulpur, SP candidate Praveen Nishad registered a victory over saffron party nominee Upendra Shukla by over 21,000 votes in Gorakhpur.
Though the Congress had also contested the byelections, its nominees lost their security deposits in both the seats. Mafia don-turned-politician Ateeq Ahmed, who is lodged in jail and had contested as an independent candidate from Phulpur, secured around 48,000 votes.
Incidentally, the BJP lost the Gorakhpur seat after around three decades. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Adityanath had won from Gorakhpur by over three lakh votes.
Maurya, on the other hand, had defeated his nearest SP rival in Phulpur in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by a little less than three lakh votes.
While the SP nominee took a lead over his BJP rival at Phulpur from the very first round, in Gorakhpur, the SP candidate came from behind in the second round of counting and never looked back.
The SP, incidentally, won the Gorakhpur LS seat for the first time. The party candidate lost narrowly against Adityanath in the 1999 polls. SP workers erupted in joy after the victory and slogans hailing ‘bua (Mayawati)-bhatija (Akhilesh)’ rent the air in different parts of the state. A stunned BJP attributed the loss to “low turnout’’ and “over confidence’’.