BJP lost bypolls to all three Lok Sabha seats in UP, Bihar

Vastavam web: In a stunning blow to the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections, the party today lost bypolls to all three Lok Sabha seats it contested, including its bastion Gorakhpur, and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh, besides Araria in Bihar.The shocker for the BJP came days after its surprise win in three northeastern states, including Tripura, where it scripted history, demolishing the Left citadel of 25 years and forming its first government in the state. Together with its regional allies, the BJP also formed its governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya.Samajwadi Party’s Pravin Nishad defeated BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,961 votes in Gorakhpur, the seat which was with the party since 1989, while Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel of SP clinched the Phulpur seat drubbing the saffron party’s Kaushalendra Singh Patel by 59,460 votes.

Lalu Prasad’s RJD retained the Araria Lok Sabha seat where its nominee Sarfaraz Alam beat BJP’s Pradeep Kumar Singh by over 60,000 votes, in a set back for the JD(U)-BJP alliance, which went to the hustings for the first time after Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA fold.In small consolation for the BJP, its candidate Rinki Rani Pandey retained the Bhabhua Assembly seat for the party, defeating her Congress rival Shambhu Singh Patel by about 14,000 votes.”We failed to understand the implications of this alliance between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party that are as different as chalk and cheese in the middle of the elections as part of bargain for the Rajya Sabha elections,” he said. The SP is backing BSP candidate for the coming Rajya Sabha polls in the state.

The SP’s victory reminded many of the triumph of the now defunct JD(U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance in Bihar which had trounced the BJP-led NDA in 2015. The victory was attributed to the consolidation of OBC and Muslim voters in favour of the Grand alliance after the two major parties–JD(U) and RJD came together.In Gorakhpur, a consolidation of OBC-Dalit-Muslim votes, which used to get split between the SP and BSP, besides the support of smaller entities like the Nishad Party and Peace Party, worked wonders for the Samajwadi Party candidates.

The Nishad Party holds considerable influence over the fisherfolk community in the belt, while the Peace Party is a force to reckon with among Muslims in the area.Keshav Prasad Maurya said the SP’s victory was the result of BSP’s ability to transfer its votes to the former.Congress president Rahul Gandhi described the results as a reflection of public anger against the BJP.

“Congratulations to the winners of today’s by-elections. It is clear from the results that voters have a lot of anger towards the BJP and will vote for any non-BJP candidate who has more chances of winning. The Congress is keen on rebuilding the party in Uttar Pradesh, but that will not happen overnight,” he tweeted in Hindi.Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav termed the victory as one of “social justice” and profusely thanked the BJP for it.

The SP had pocketed 22.2 per cent votes and won five seats, while the BSP failed to open its account despite polling 19.6 per cent votes. The combined percentage of votes polled by the two parties was marginally less than the NDA’s at 41.8 per cent.The NDA improved upon its performance in the 2017 Assembly polls, winning 325 seats in the 403-member Assembly, polling 48.7 per cent votes. The SP won 47 seats with 21.8 per cent votes. The BSP won 19 seats with 22.2 per cent votes.