In a huge blow to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Samajwadi Party on Wednesday won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat, a constituency which has been the bastion of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Samajwadi Party’s candidate Praveen Nishad defeated BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,000 votes to win the Lok Sabha seat.
The constituency saw a voter turnout of 43 per cent in the elections held on Sunday along with that of Phulpur. The bypoll was necessitated after Adityanath vacated the seat following his election to the state legislative council.
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Accepting the defeat, Adityanath cited over-confidence and the inability to understand the understanding between SP and BSP as prime reasons for the BJP’s defeat. “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,” Adityanath told the media from his residence in Lucknow.
“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 said.
Gorakhpur had been held by Yogi Adityanath since 1998 – he was the youngest MP at 26 – and three times before that by his mentor Advaidyanath. The chief minister, who has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha five times, said local issues led to the party’s poor performance in by-elections, not the policies of the Centre.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav seemed elated with the win and said the results in the state by-polls show that people have replied to BJP’s bad governance.
“I want to thank everyone. I want to thank the people of both Gorakhpur and Phulpur. I also want to thank BSP chief Mayawati for her support to our party. The numbers that we have got are overwhelming. The people have replied to BJP’s misgovernance,”Yadav said in a presser in Lucknow.
“If this is the anger of people in areas of CM and Deputy CM, you can imagine the anger of the people of the rest of the country. ‘Achhe din’ did not come but at least they managed to unite the people and brought ‘bure din’ for BJP,” he added.
A win for SP-BSP alliance can cement hopes of a possible third front for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.