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Posted at: Mar 14, 2018, 9:16 AM; last updated: Mar 14, 2018, 8:22 PM (IST)

Bypolls: Blow to BJP as SP wrests Gorakhpur, Phulpur Lok Sabha seats

Bypolls: Blow to BJP as SP wrests Gorakhpur, Phulpur Lok Sabha seats
Samajwadi Party workers celebrate partys success in Lok Sabha by-elections, at party headquarters in Lucknow on Wednesday. PTI

Shahira Naim

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 14

The SP-BSP electoral understanding has struck gold in Uttar Pradesh. Profusely thanking BSP supremo Mayawati, SP national president Akhilesh Yadav described the historic win as the victory of social justice with his party wresting Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats.

Jubilant SP workers started gathering at SP office as soon as news of the party's lead came in. It became celebration time as SP workers broke into impromptu dancing as news of a fresh round of counting came in.

Holi and Diwali were being celebrated together with offerings of sweets and applying of 'gulal' and bursting of firecrackers.

Slogans of "Bua-Bhatija zindabad" rent the air, referring to BSP national president Mayawati and SP national president Akhilesh Yadav.

Reacting to the defeat of the BJP candidates in his five-time stronghold of Gorakhpur as well as his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya's constituency of Phulpur, CM Yogi Adityanath attributed it to the coming together of SP-BSP and BJPs over-confidence.  

Ending a period of drought, both Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats have been wrested away from the saffron party in the byelections.


Party Candidate     Votes polled

SP        Praveen Nishad          4,56,437

BJP      Upender Dutt Shukla  4,34,476

Cong     Surhita Kareem         18,830

Victory margin                         21,961 


Party Candidate            Votes polled

SP        Nagendra Singh Patel        3,42,796

BJP      Kaushlendra Singh Patel    2,83,183

Atiq Ahmad (Independent)             48,087

Cong      Manish Mishra                 19,334

Victory margin                                 59,613

Interestingly, during the campaign the ruling party repeatedly described it as a referendum on the close to 4-year rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the year-old Yogi regime in the state.

Instead the predicted neck-and-neck fight in Phulpur, SP's Nagendra Singh Patel defeated his closest BJP rival and former Varanasi mayor Kaushlendra Singh Patel by a comfortable margin of 59,613 votes.

The presence of mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad, who contested from behind the bars, was expected to dent the chances of SP candidate. However, in spite of his managing 48,087 votes the SP candidate won by close to 60,000 lead.

Similarly, in Gorakhpur, considered to be CM Yogi Aditynath's unconquerable bastion,  SP candidate Praveen Nishad defeated his BJP rival Upendra Dutt Shukla by a respectable margin of 21,961 votes.

However, the reversal in Gorakhpur was probably a bit too difficult for the ruling party to accept. Earlier in the day, district magistrate Rajeev Rautela asked the media to leave and refused to give a round-to-round update of the counting.

However, after the intervention of the election commission the results started trickling in once again.

Still according to sources, the final counting in Gorakhpur was over long ago. BJP's defeat had been known hours before it was officially announced.

The results were finally acknowledged only after CM Yogi, while speaking to a news channel, admitted defeat and congratulated both the winning candidates.

While the electoral understanding between the SP and BSP was a gamechanger, the support of other OBC and Pasmanda Muslim parties like the Nishad Party, Peace Party further consolidated the OBC, Muslim and Dalit front.

Lok Dal and all the three Communist parties also extended their support to the SP candidates making the BJP nervousness apparent.

CM Yogi's language became strident. He called the understanding as the coming together of 'saanp and chuchoonder' (snake and mole).

He held 16 election meetings in Gorakhpur alone. He and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya campaigned extensively in Phulpur as well.

The bypolls were necessitated after CM Yogi and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya had vacated their Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, respectively, following their election to the state legislative council.


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