Lucknow, Mar 14 (PTI) The seemingly invincible BJP in Uttar Pradesh today suffered a double jolt as its was trounced by the BSP backed Samajwadi Party, in the high-stake bypolls for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats.
Significantly, Gorakhpur was earlier held by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had held the Phulpur seat.
Samajwadi Party’s Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel defeated BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel by a sizeable 59,460 vote margin to win Phulpur bypoll, an EC official.
In Gorakhpur, Praveen Nishad of SP defeated his BJP rival won by a margin of 21,961 votes.
As soon as the outcome was known, Adityanath said “over-confidence and the inability to understand the understanding between SP and BSP” were prime reasons for the BJP’s defeat.
He said the Lok Sabha bye-election results were a “lesson” and a reason for review.
“When the candidates were declared, the SP, BSP and Congress were not together. They had not joined hands then. But suddenly in the middle of the election, the SP and the BSP forged an electoral understanding,” he told media at his residence.
The over-confidence and inability to understand the electoral understanding between the SP and the BSP led to the defeat, Adityanath stressed.
Political bargaining has started in the state and people of the state will understand it, he claimed.
The chief minister, who has represented Gorakhpur in Lok Sabha five times, said local issues led to his party’s poor performance and not the policies of the Centre.
Local issues dominated and voter turnout was also low, he said.
“When general elections are held, there will be national issues. Under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, there has been a sense of confidence which is prevailing in the country,” he said adding the party would review all aspects.
Meanwhile, buoyed by the victory of both his candidates, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav drove to the party headquarters and addressed an impromptu press conference, profusely thanking Mayawati for her support.
Yafav also atributed the SP’s wins to the support from Dalits, farmers, labourers, women and unemployed and called it a victory of social justice.
Governments which trouble people are brought down, he said added “This government brought problems and created fear among people”.
This was a mandate against both the Centre and state governments, the SP chief said.
“People have come together to bring ‘bad days’ for the BJP,” he claimed.
Senior BJP minister and UP government spokesperson Sidharthnath Singh said his party would have to re-draw its electoral strategy vis-a-vis the new found love between the SP and the BSP.
“We still have a year to go for the Lok Sabha polls. We can definitely review our strategy in the light of new political developments,” he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Maurya said the margin of defeat was not that significant and added that the party will review as to what went wrong in its strategy. He said the BJP will decide as to how to counter the understanding between the SP and the BSP.
With the tacit understanding between the Samajwadi Party and the BSP in the Lok Sabha bye-elections on two seats paying off, chances of a ‘mahagathbandhan’ of anti-BJP forces before the 2019 general elections gained ground.
These results are the beginning of formation of a broadest possible alliance of opposition forces before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, senior political analyst and retired head of the political science department of the Lucknow University Dr Ramesh Dixit said.
“The Congress will also be forced to come into this fold, Dixit said.
Congress candidates on both seats fared poorly.
The victory has also come in as a major boost for the cadres of the SP and BSP who see in it the only hope in reviving their waning ground since the 2014 Lok Sabha.
“Though a decision to this effect will be taken by the party high commands of both the parties when the time comes, it has given hope to workers that this is the only way to counter the onslaught of the BJP,” a Samajwadi Party leader said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.