In a set back to the ruling Samajwadi Party, the BJP and Congress won in two of the three assembly by-elections held in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress made a surprise comeback in Deoband after a gap of 27 years by winning the Saharanpur Assembly seat and BJP won the Muzaffarnagar assembly seat. SP had to settle for Bikapur assembly seat in Faizabad.
Congress candidate from Deoband Mavia Ali, who was expelled from Samajwadi Party in 2011 for allegedly supporting Ghulam Mohd Vastanvi of Deoband, won by over 3,000 votes in Deoband defeating Meena Singh of Samajwadi Party.
Deputy District Election officer Deoband OP Verma informed that Mavia Ali got 51,012 votes, Meena Singh of SP got 47,453 votes, whereas Rampal Singh Pundir of BJP got 45,513 votes. The seat was won by Congress last in the 1989 assembly elections.
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In Muzaffarnagar, BJP candidate Kapil Deo won the by-election defeating Gaurav Swaroop of Samajwadi party, clearly benefiting from a polarised voter base.
Speaking to The Indian Express Manoj Kumar Singh, Deputy District Election Officer, Muzaffarnagar informed that while BJP candidate Kapil Deo got 65,378 votes, SP candidate Gaurav Swaroop got 58,026 votes, RLD candidate Mithlesh Pal got 14,673. Congress candidate Salman Saeed came fourth polling 10,561 votes.
District Magistrate Nikhil Kumar Shukla told The Indian Express that while the entire election has gone peacefully, he has put a ban on victory processions or celebratory firing in the district.
Out of three assembly seats that went for by-polls in the state, BJP had put its entire focus on Muzaffarnagar, where its leaders with “Pro-hindutva image”, right from Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan, Member of Parliament Hukkum Singh, MLA Suresh Rana and Sangeet Som had campaigned. Most of these leaders were named in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riot-related cases for their inciting speeches. While Congress had fielded Salman Seed, who was also named in the 2013 riots related case allegedly for his inciting speech but he came fourth. Senior Congress leader Meira Kumar had campaigned for Saeed on his request hoping to get Scheduled Caste votes in his favour but that did not seem to have worked on this seat.
Deoband assembly seat fell vacant following the death of Samajwadi Party Minister Rajendra Singh Rana. His wife Meena Singh was given the party ticket for contesting the by-election. Whereas, Muzaffarnagar assembly seat had become vacant following death of Samajwadi Party Minister Chitranjan Swaroop but SP lost this seat as well.
The only respite for Samajwadi Party was its victory on Bikapur assembly seat in Faizabad. Samajwadi Party candidate Anand Sen defeated Rastriya Lok Dal candidate Munna Singh Chauhan on Bikapur seat. Ram Niwas Sharma, district election officer told The Indian Express that while SP candidate Anand Sen got 68,896 votes, RLD candidate Munna Singh Chauhan got 62,456 votes. BJP candidate on the seat Ram Krishna Tiwari got 11,933 votes, even AIMIM candidate got 11,857 votes. He said that Congress candidate on the seat, Asad Ahmad lost his deposit as well as he got merely about 2945 votes.
This seat had fell vacant following death of ruling Samajwadi Party MLA Mitrasen Yadav. Samajwadi Party had given ticket to Mitrasen’s son Anand Sen in the by-election.
It may be mentioned that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who had held his first rallies in Uttar Pradesh in Faizabad in favour of its Bikapur candidate had spoken in detail about welfare of Muslims and dalits.