Bua-Babua magic works: SP wins Phulpur, defeats BJP in Yogi's turf Gorakhpur
Backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP) dealt two massive blows to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party by snatching the prestigious Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in the by-elections.
In Phulpur, the constituency from where Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had won by a huge margin, the SP candidate Nagendra Singh Patel was declared elected by 59,613 votes at the end of round 26.
At the end of 27th round of counting in Gorakhpur the SP candidate Praveen Nishad was leading by 21, 127 votes against his BJP rival Upendra Shukla. Nishad’s lead has down from 25,870 votes in the 22nd round to 22,954 in the 22nd, making the BJP camp jubilant with hope.
The seats fell vacant after Adityanath and Keshav Prasad Maurya were elected to the state Assembly.
The scent of victory also brought Mayawati back into political reckoning and opened the possibility of a credible Opposition alliance to take on the BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
At both the places the Congress was not in contention. In fact Atiq Ahmad polled more votes (43,000) than the Congress candidate in Phulpur.
The loss of Gorakhpur seat will personally hurt Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as he was Gorakhpur MP for five consecutive terms. Adityanath’s guru Mahant Avaidyanath had held the seat earlier. This is the first time in three decades that the seat has gone outside the Gorakhnath Mutt, of which Adityanath is the Mahant, a position earlier occupied by Avaidyanath.
The shocking defeat couldn’t have come at a worse time for Adityanath---just when he was preparing to celebrate his one year in office.
Accepting the defeat, Maurya said that the party announced its candidates before the SP-BSP decided to come together for these polls. “We will now analyse the causes for defeat,” he said.
The state BJP president blamed the defeat on low voter turnout.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath also made a similar statement later that the BJP was over-confident and didn't anticipate the challenge that the SP-BSP alliance posed.
The victor from Phulpur, Nagendra Patel, thanked Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati for his good showing.
To acknowledge the BSP’s importance in these victories, Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha, Ram Govind Chaudhary met Mayawati and thanked for her support to the SP.
After the 1995 State Guest House incident Mayawati had decided not to have any alliance with the SP. It was only after Akhilesh Yadav marginalised his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and took over as party president that a thaw became visible.
Earlier, the district returning officer Rajeev Rautela drew the ire of media and the SP for allegedly trying to play dirty on behalf of the government. Rautela delayed the announcement of results of the initial rounds when after the ninth round he came out to inform journalists of the first round lead.
As the House was in session, there was a furore and the SP fired a letter to the Election Commission drawing its attention to a possible foul play by Rautela.
After that Rautela started giving details of votes counted after every round.
The Election Commission has sought a report from Rautela on the complaint.
Commenting on the leads, SP MLC Sunil Singh Yadav Sajan said it was a victory of saanp-chhachhundar (snake and a mole), referring to the snide remark made by Chief Minister Adityanath on the SP-BSP alliance.
The Adityanath government has been facing criticism for its aggressive Hindutva, lack of development and police encounters. His arrogance and differences with Maurya were also to blame for the party’s pathetic showing in the by-elections.
Ummed Singh, BSP spokesman, said we are not making any statement because of the death of BSP leader Lalji Verma's son. Verma's son committed suicide yesterday and "Behenji and other party leaders were condoling the tragedy," he said.