Lalu, Maya, Akhilesh shock Modi,Shah,Yogi in bypolls

National | March 14, 2018, 7:35 p.m.

New Delhi, March 14: In a major blow to PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, the BJP lost crucial bypolls in UP and Bihar facing a united opposition just before general elections. What is more embarrassing for BJP is that it lost Gorakhpur, a seat represented by UP CM Yogi Adityanath for 5 consecutive terms, apart from UP Dy CM Keshav Maurya's Phulpur seat. The defeats in UP came as bitter foes Samajwadi Party and BSP decided to join hands against the BJP.        

The Samajwadi Party, backed by its otherwise bitter foe BSP, wrested the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh from the BJP. The two seats were vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

Samajwadi Party candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel defeated his nearest Bharatiya Janata Party rival Kaushlendra Singh Patel by 59,613 votes, leading to noisy celebrations and calls for opposition unity across the nation to defeat the BJP in next year's Lok Sabha battle.

The results were announced after 31 rounds of counting. 

The Bahujan Samaj Party had extended support to the Samajwadi Party in a bid to avoid a split in opposition vote.

Amid beating of drums and distribution of sweets, the victorious Nagendra Patel not only thanked the people of Phulpur for his victory but said he also had the blessings of 'behenji' Mayawati along with his own leader Akhilesh Yadav.

Mafia don-turned-politician Ateeq Ahmad, contesting as an Independent from inside the jail, won 33,818 votes in Phulpur while Manish Mishra (Congress) got 11,934 votes. 

Yogi Adityanath and Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively after being elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

In Gorakhpur, Samajwadi Party's Praveen Kumar Nishad defeatd BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukl by 21,881 votes.

The setback comes as a huge shocker to the year-old BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, where Adityanath has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha seat for five consecutive times.

Both the Lok Sabha constituencies voted on Sunday. 

"This is a rejection of both (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and Yogi (Adityanath)," Samajwadi Party spokesman Anurag Bhaudauria told IANS. 

"They have been making tall promises but not delivering on the ground," he said, explaining why the voters appeared to have turned away against the BJP so dramatically in these two seats since the 2014 Lok Sabha battle.

In a rare show of camaraderie, Samajwadi Party leaders admitted that the BSP decision to back their party played a critical role in the outcome.

In 2014, the BJP stunningly won 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats while one of its allies secured two. The Samajwadi Party won from five seats. The Congress won two seats and the BSP drew a blank.

The Samajwadi Party took early lead right from the beginning of the vote count that began on Wednesday morning and steadily built up the gap with its BJP rivals as officials counted the tens of thousands of votes.

Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela earlier sparked a storm by barring journalists from entering the counting centre and did not announce details of counting after the first two rounds. 

In Bihar, the RJDy won Araria Lok Sabha seat and the Jehanabad Assembly seats, but the BJP bagged the Bhabhua Assembly seat.

In Araria, RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam defeated BJP's Pradeep Kumar Singh by 61988 votes. RJD got 509334 votes and BJP got 447346 votes

The Rashtriya Janata Dal's Suday Yadav defeated Janata Dal-United candidate Abhiram Sharma by 35,036 votes in Jehanabad.

Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Rinki Pandey defeated Sambhu Patel of the Congress, an RJD ally, by 15,000 votes in Bhabua.

A formal announcement of the two victories will be made soon, the officials said.

It was a direct fight between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and the Grand Alliance of the RJD-Congress in Bihar, a year ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

RJD leaders and workers celebrated across the state by distributing sweets and bursting firecrackers.

The by-elections were held on Sunday.

With IANS Inputs


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