Setback to BSP as Chandra Shekhar's son wins Ballia bypoll

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Lucknow, Jan 2 (UNI) The Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh suffered a setback when the party candidate received a defeat at the hands of the Samajwadi Party in the Ballia Lok Sabha bypoll.

The by-election held in the backdrop of the emotional attachment of the constituency with late former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, whose death forced the bypoll, witnessed hectic campaigning by Chief Minister Mayawati and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Mulayam Singh Yadav for their respective candidates.

However, Neeraj Shekhar, created a record of sorts by winning the seat with a landslide margin of over 1.31 lakh votes. His father won the seat in 2004 general elections with only 70,000 votes.

The BSP's loss in the Ballia bypoll, after its unsuccessful tirade in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, will certainly give a clear indication to the party to gear up for the coming Lok Sabha polls and rethink the failure of its' social engineering'' on the combination of dalits and Brahmins, political observers said.

In Gujarat, the BSP received three per cent vote after contesting 166 seats out of the total 182 without any win while in Himachal Pradesh the party won one seat and garnered about 6 per cent vote.

In the Ballia bypoll, Neeraj Shekhar, received 2,95,735 votes, which was about 25,000 votes more than his father got in the last polls.

Similarly, Vinay Shanker Tiwari, the son of former UP Minister and strongman Hari Shankar Tiwari and one of the strongest contenders in fray banking on the polarisation of Brahmin and Dalit votes in UP, had to content with 1,64,450 votes, about 35,000 votes less than what the party received in 2004 elections.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Virendra Singh Mast was on the third position securing 22,723 votes showing that the party was still fighting for its vote bank.

Surprising, little-known Bharatiya Samaj Party's Dr Uma Shankar Nishad was in the fourth spot with 21,469 votes. But Congress nominee Rajeev Upadhyay came a poor fifth with only 10,755 votes.

However, deposits of all the candidates except for the winner and runner up, were forfeited.

In the last Assembly election held in March, of the five assembly segments of the Ballia LS seat, three seats of Sadar, Baansdih and Doaba were won by the BSP, while the remaining Kopacheet and Chiklehar were snatched by the SP.

If the total votes polled here in the last April-May UP assembly poll were added, the SP and the BSP had cornered almost equal 1.55 lakh and 1.54 lakh votes respectively.

The BJP and Congress candidates in the assembly segments falling under the Ballia parliamentary constituency had polled 82,544 and 50,273 votes, respectively.

The Ballia Lok Sabha seat has about 15.22 lakh voters and based on the caste equation, no community can claim to be a majority in the area.

In the last Lok Sabha poll, the Congress had not fielded its candidate from Ballia seat. The main fight was between Chandra Shekhar, who commanded SP's support, BSP's Kapil Dev Yadav and BJP nominee P N Tiwari.

The Young Turk polled over 2.70 lakh votes and was declared elected defeating Mr Dev of BSP, who got 1.98 lakh votes.

The BJP's nominee secured third position with 1.1 lakh votes.

UNI MB NAB RP PM1813

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