In UP, maha defeat for gathbandhan

BSP chief Mayawati with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh waves at supporters at an election rally in Varanasi on May 16. PTI

Belying all speculations, the BJP inflicted a crushing defeat on the SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance as well as the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, winning 62 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The ‘Mahagathbandhan’, which nurtured hopes to turn the tables on the BJP with the help of “caste arithmetic”, managed to win only 17 seats.

The Samajwadi Party (SP), which had won five seats in 2014 LS polls, headed for yet another rout despite allying with the BSP.

While SP president Akhilesh Yadav and party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav have won from Azamgarh and Mainpuri seats respectively, three members of their family, including Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav, were staring at defeat.

Of the 17 seats won by the grand alliance, the BSP emerged as a major gainer, winning 12 of them. The BSP had drawn a blank in the 2014 LS polls.

The other alliance partner, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), too was decimated in the polls and its nominees lost all the three seats they had contested. RLD president Ajeet Singh and son Jayant Chaudhary lost from Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat seats respectively.

The Congress too suffered a severe drubbing in the polls and its tally declined from two in the 2014 LS polls to one. Congress president Rahul Gandhi lost in his home turf of Amethi. The lone winner for the Congress was former party president Sonia Gandhi who romped home in Raebareli. The grand old party had fielded its candidates in 67 seats in the state.

Almost all the senior leaders of the BJP, barring union minister Manoj Sinha, have won from their seats. Sinha was trailing in Ghazipur LS seat, where Afzal Ansari of the grand alliance looked set to win.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from Varanasi by a massive margin of over 3.50 lakh votes. Union Minister Rajnath Singh won from Lucknow seat. Union Minister Satyapal Singh and Santosh Gangwar also won from Baghpat and Bareilly seats respectively.

BJP’s ally Apna Dal (AD), which had contested in three seats, won two seats. AD chief and Union Minister Anupriya Patel won from Mirzapur LS seat.

The saffron party, which had won 73 seats with the AD in 2014 LS polls, managed to retain its grip on the Jat-dominated western as well as central and Avadh regions in the state. The grand alliance, however, managed to wrest a few seats from the BJP in the eastern region of the state.

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