Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

BJP Suffers Body Blow In UP By-Poll, Loses Yogi Adityanath's Gorakhpur

BJP Suffers Body Blow In UP By-Poll, Loses Yogi Adityanath's Gorakhpur

Mr Gandhi said, 'Congratulations to the winners of the bypolls.

In a tweet, shortly after the Uttar Pradesh results were out, Vijayan said "results of bypolls in UP signal the end of overhyped Modi magic built on false promises, fake claims".

The Phulpur seat saw the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party combine win with a margin of almost 60,000 votes. SP candidate Pravin Kumar Nishad got 456,437 votes while the BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla secured 4,34,476 votes. What still works in BJP's favour is its formidable electoral machinery, many foot soldiers and the fragmented character of the opposition.

The results today will only deepen speculation of a SP-BSP alliance for the 2019 general election. In Gorakhpur, the BJP's tally was nearly 5.4 lakh votes, while the combined SP-BSP tally was just over 4 lakh. He said that if in 2019 or 2022, the opposition comes together in the similar manner then party would also form its strategy accordingly.

Gorakhpuir has been a citadel of sorts for the BJP as Yogi Adityanath represented this seat for five terms before becoming the state's chief minister a year ago, necessitating a bypoll.

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As results of by-elections in two Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh became clear on Wednesday, the ruling BJP held opportunism of Opposition parties responsible for the loss, and cited their last minute alliance. His nearest BJP rival obtained 144,166 votes, Independent Atiq Ahmed 20,468 and with 7,882 the Congress candidate Manish Mishra was fourth.

The margin of victory of the regional parties indicates that regional party leaders are more aware of the local issues and better connected with the people there, Kumar said. The NDA allies had polled 43.3 per cent votes. It has lost all 10 Lok Sabha by-elections in these two years-Amritsar, Srinagar, Malappuram, Gurdaspur, Ajmer, Alwar, Uluberia, Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Araria.

Particularly the loss in Gorakhpur, which was represented six times by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, was very huge for the BJP. With the win in two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, SP's tally has gone up to seven from five in 2014. 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.

The RJD retained the Jehanabad Assembly seat, with its nominee Suday Yadav defeating his JD (U) rival Abhiram Sharma by more than 30,000 votes. The Congress and BSP drew a blank. In the by-election, BSP supremo Mayawati had extended her support to Samajawadi Party and did not field BSP candidates on Phulpur and Gorakhpur seats. The defeat also showed that the BJP, which had swept the polls both in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2017 Assembly elections in a multi-cornered contest, is highly vulnerable when the major political forces in the Opposition come together - something that was evident even during the 2015 Assembly elections in Bihar at the height of Modi's popularity.

The Gorakhpur result also casts a cloud on the shining future that was envisaged for Yogi - the party uses him as a national icon for campaigning.

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