New Delhi, March 14
Samajwadi Party on Wednesday handed BJP a crushing defeat in two crucial bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, forcing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to admit that the election results were a lesson for them.
While SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel registered a resounding win over BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel by a margin of 59,460 votes in Phulpur, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP thumped BJP in Yogi Adityanath’s bastion of Gorakhpur. SP candidate Praveen Nishad defeated BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,961 votes to win Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat.
Meanwhile, controversy erupted in Gorakhpur after there were reports that the media was barred from entering the counting centre. There was ruckus in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly leading to temporary adjournment. However, an ECI official said that the media was being briefed personally by the DM after each round’s progress.
The voter turnout was 47.45 per cent in Gorakhpur and 37.39 per cent in Phulpur in Sunday’s polling. The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively following their election to state legislative council. Adityanath has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha five times.
In a major blow to BJP ahead of 2019 polls, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Wednesday managed to retain Jehanabad seat as well as the Araria Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, while, the saffron party clinched the Bhabua assembly seat.
The elections were seen as a litmus test for both the parties as it was the first electoral test to NDA in Bihar since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s return to the alliance in July, while the RJD had to fight in the absence of its supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.
RJD’s Sarafaraz Alam won the Araria Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 61,988 votes. While Sarafaraz Alam got 50,9334 votes, BJP’s Pradip Singh trailed behind with 44,7346 votes. In the Jehanabad assembly seat, RJD’s Uday Yadav defeated his Janata Dal (United) rival Abhiram Sharma by more than 30,000 votes.
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. Dedicating the win to the people of Bihar, RJD chief’s son and party leader Tejashwi Yadav called the results ‘a victory of the ideology of Lalu Prasad Yadav.’
“You have not jailed Lalu Yadav, you have jailed an ideology. This very ideology will destroy your ego,” tweeted Tejashwi Yadav as the results were pouring in. Yadav also slammed the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government calling it an “opportunistic alliance.” CM Nitish Kumar congratulated the winners and BJP leader Sushil Modi said that the party respected people’s mandate.
Reacting to results, former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi said,“BJP should stop working for its face value and instead put in efforts to work for the people. That’s the only way in which they can improve or else they will face the same result in the 2019 elections as they have in this bypoll.” Manjhi had recently joined the grand alliance after walking away from NDA government.
Leaders from other political parties also congratulated RJD over the victory. Mamata Banerjee and Omar Abdullah congratulated Tejashwi Yadav on Twitter. Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “People have spoken against anti-farmer, anti-youth and anti-women policies of the govt, it is very clear that BJP is being shown door by people.”