Shiv Sena blames Naresh Agarwal for BJP’s debacle in UP, Bihar bypolls

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    The Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday blamed the BJP and said its policies, including things like the induction into the party of former SP man Naresh Agarwal, as the cause of its debacle in the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by-elections.

     Sanjay Raut

    The BJP is on the way to losing bye-elections in two Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh and missed out on a chance to snatch one constituency from the RJD in Bihar. The BJP and JDU also failed to secure two Assembly seats in Bihar and only retained a seat that the BJP had won on its own in 2015.

    "I don't believe the alliance of the SP-BSP is what's working (in keeping the SP-BSP candidates ahead). What I believe is that the day you (the BJP) unrolled the red carpet for a man who criticised Lord Ram the most, that day Lord Ram too turned against you," Raut told Times of India.

    Raut referred to the fact that Agarwal - who was inducted into the BJP two days ago - had last year, when he was SP MP, compared various Hindu gods, including Ram, to various kinds of alcohol.

    In the prestigious Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat, the home turf of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla was trailing behind Praveen Nishad of the SP.

    In Phulpur, SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel had raced ahead of his nearest BJP rival. The election to the two constituencies were held on March 11.

    A day later, Agrawal quit the SP to join the BJP after he lost out to actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan in the race for re-nomination to the upper house.

    The bypolls were necessitated after Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively, following their election to the state legislative council.

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