New Delhi, March 14: The Samajawadi Party (SP) looks set to win both Gorakhpur, Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls as the party has taken a handsome lead over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in what is being described as a prestige battle for the saffron party and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. Celebrations erupted at the Samajwadi Party’s Lucknow headquarters on Wednesday afternoon with party workers chanting slogans like “Bua-Bhatija Zindabad” “Akhilesh Bhaiya Jindabad”.

After 19 rounds of counting, Samajwadi Party’s Praveen Kumar Nishad was leading by over 26,000 votes against BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla in Adityanath’s hometown Gorakhpur. In Phulpur too, SP’s Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel was leading against BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel by over 22,000 votes after 15th round of counting. Adityanath has represented Gorakhpur seat for five straight terms since 1998. (Also Read: In Uttar Pradesh, Bihar Bypolls, is There a Message For The BJP?)

Bahujan Samaj Party supreme Mayawati had denied any alliance with arch-rival SP but her party decided not to field any candidate in the bypolls.

The BJP’s imminent defeat comes at a time when the Yogi Adityanath government is just days away from completing a year in power in Uttar Pradesh. For the SP, it will be a morale booster particularly after the humiliating defeat in the Assembly election last year, on the other hand, the defeat before crucial Assembly polls in major states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan will come as big blow for the BJP.