UP Assembly bypolls: NDA gets 8, SP 3; BSP, Cong draw blank
Lucknow, Oct 24: The SP turned out to be a major gainer in UP Assembly bypolls, wresting a seat each from the ruling BJP and the BSP, while the NDA got eight, one less than it held, as final results were declared on Thursday for the 11 seats that went to polls this week.
The SP wrested Zaidpur seat from the ruling BJP and Jalalpur seat from the BSP, while retaining Rampur. The BJP bagged seven seats and its ally Apna Dal (S) one. The saffron party retained Balha, Gangoh, Manikpur, Ghosi, Iglas, Lucknow Cantt and Govindnagar, while Apna Dal (S) retained Pratapgarh. Political analysts feel that the absence of the "Modi factor" in the bye-elections could have hit BJP's poll prospects, though Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had campaigned vigorously and had been insisting that his party would win all the 11 assembly seats where bypolls were held.
Terming victory of Samajwadi Party candidates in Uttar Pradesh and also in Maharashtra as people's mandate to "save democracy", party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that it was an indication of people's anger against "the faulty and anti-people" policies of the BJP. "SP has won in Rampur, Jalalpur and Zaidpur despite administrative pressures and misuse of official machinery," Akhilesh said. He alleged that the BJP was doing the politics of vendetta and harassing his party's workers by filing fake cases, but the SP will continue to protest against the BJP misrule.
In Gangoh, BJP candidate Kirat Singh defeated his nearest-rival Nooman Masud of Congress by over 5,400 votes. The Manikpur seat was retained by the BJP when its nominee Anand Shukla got the better of Samajwadi Party's Nirbhay Singh Patel by 12,840 votes. In Ghosi, BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Rajbhar defeated independent candidate Sudhkar Singh, who was supported by Samajwadi Party, by 1,773 votes.
Jalalpur seat, previously held by BSP, saw a see-saw contest between the SP and the BSP. But SP candidate Subhash Rai defeated BSP's Chhaya Verma by a slender margin of 790 votes. In the prestigious seat of Rampur, SP lawmaker Azam Khan's wife and SP candidate Tazeen Fatma defeated BJP's Bharat Bhushan by over 7,700 votes. Azam Khan ran an emotionally charged campaign while the SP chief addressed one meeting. The first results came from Zaidpur, where SP's Gaurav Kumar defeated BJP's Ambrish by 4,165 votes.
The Balha (reserved) seat was retained by the BJP, where its Saroj Sonekar defeated SP's Kiran Bharti by 46,487 votes. The Pratapgarh seat was declared in favour of Apna Dal (S) nominee Rajkumar Pal, who defeated SP's Brijesh Verma by 29,714 votes. The BJP retained the Lucknow Cantonment seat, where Suresh Chandra Tiwari humbled his nearest rival of the SP by over 35,400 votes.
The seat was won by the ruling party's Rita Bahuguna Joshi in 2017, but she vacated it after winning the Lok Sabha polls in April-May this year from Allahabad. The BJP also retained Iglas seat where its candidate Rajkumar Sahyogi trounced BSP's Abhay Kumar by nearly 26,000 votes. In Govindnagar, BJP candidate Surendra Maithani retained the seat by defeating Congress rival Karishma Thakur by over 21,000 votes.
Incidentally, the Congress, which was leading after the initial rounds of counting in the Gangoh constituency, was overtaken by the BJP in the subsequent rounds. This prompted Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to accuse the BJP of trying to subvert people's verdict by putting pressure on the district magistrate to reduce the lead of her party's candidate. The BJP is insulting democracy with one of its ministers repeatedly telephoning the district magistrate to reduce the Congress candidate's margin, Priyanka Gandhi alleged.
"The BJP is full of arrogance that it is trying to change the decision of the people by reducing the Congress candidate's margin at the counting centre in Gangoh. A BJP minister in Uttar Pradesh has called the DM five times to direct him to reduce the lead. This is an insult to democracy," she tweeted.
"The Uttar Pradesh Congress will fight this out strongly. The Election Commission should hold a thorough, impartial inquiry into the incident," Priyanka Gandhi said. As the results came in, Chief Minister Adityanath congratulated the victorious candidates and hoped that they will work towards winning over 'sabka vishwas', following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mantra of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas aur sabka vishwas'.
He also exuded confidence that all the winners will contribute to fulfilling people's aspirations and play an active role in the development of the state. Priyanka Gandhi said she is happy that the vote percentage of the party has improved. "The vote percentage of the party has improved in comparison with the Lok Sabha polls," the Congress leader said, also welcoming the Haryana Assembly poll results.
The bypolls were mostly necessitated after the legislators of the assembly constituencies got elected to Lok Sabha. The Ghosi seat fell vacant after the resignation of MLA Phagu Chauhan, after he was appointed the Governor of Bihar. With Thursday's results, the party position in the 403-member UP Assembly is: BJP - 309, Apna Dal (S) - 9, SP - 50, BSP - 18, Cong - 7, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party - 4, Independents - 3, RLD - 1, Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Apna Dal - 1. One seat (Tundla) is vacant.