THE RULING Samajwadi Party retained both Bilari and Jangipur Assembly seats — the results of the bypolls were were announced on Thursday — with the BJP emerging as a surprise gainer with its vote share on both seats increasing when compared to the 2012 Assembly elections.
In Muslim-dominated Bilari of Moradabad, SP’s Mohammad Faeem bagged 90,464 votes by defeating BJP’s Suresh Saini by 7,093 votes. In Yadav-dominated Jangipur in Ghazipur, SP’s Kismatiya Devi secured 82,316 votes and won by 22,092 votes against BJP nominee Ramesh.
While the BSP stayed away from the bypolls, Congress failed to make any impression on both seats. Its nominee got 3,670 votes in Bilari and 6,854 in Jangipur.
The Jangipur seat fell vacant following the death of MLA and cabinet minister Kailash Yadav. The SP fielded his wife Kismatiya Devi in the bypoll. The Bilari bypoll, on the other hand, was necessitated following the death of SP MLA Haji Mohammad Irfan in a road accident. The SP went on to field his son Faeem.
The BJP candidate in Bilari, Suresh Saini, bagged 83,371 votes — much higher when compared to the 2012 Lok Sabha polls when BJP had got 16,738 votes and managed only the third spot. In Jangipur, BJP candidate Ramesh got 60,224 votes while he as party nominee on the same seat in 2012 had secured only 10,035 votes to bag the fourth place.
The SP, too, meanwhile, bagged more votes than it had in the 2012 polls. During the Lok Sabha polls, its Bilari candidate Mohammed Irfan had got 55,694 votes. This time, his son secured 90,464 votes in the bypoll. Likewise, Kailash Yadav had got 72,208 votes in 2012 but his wife Kismatiya secured 82,316 votes this bypoll.
According to the Election Commission (EC), 1,493 voters in Bilari and 1,246 in Jangipur opted for NOTA (none of the above) option during the bypolls.
When contacted, BJP state spokesperson Chandra Mohan said party workers were enthused with the increase in the vote share. “The SP misused the government machinery to win the bypolls. Its nominees also had the sympathy of the voters because they were the relatives of the deceased MLAs. But BJP getting more votes than in the 2012 polls shows that people’s faith in it has increased and the party will definitely win 2017 UP polls,” he claimed.
Sources said the increase in BJP’s voteshare has come as a surprise to many. The party had engaged pro-Hindutva face and Union MoS for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan for campaigning in Bilari. Balyan — named in a case related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots — and other leaders highlighted the BJP’s agenda of development, works of the Modi government and targetted the Akhilesh regime on the law and order front.
No issues were raised to polarise voters. In the Muzaffarnagar bypoll held in February, BJP had taken up the issue of communal riots and won the seat.
Meanwhile, SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the victory of party candidates has confirmed that people have faith on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the development works carried out by the SP government. “The results show that SP will continue in power after 2017 polls with absolute majority. It also indicate that voters are fed up of the negative politics of Opposition parties. They are sure that only SP can stop BJP’s communal wave,” Chaudhary said in a statement.