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UP, Bihar Bypolls: BJP Lost in All Three Lok Sabha Seats

15 March 2018

In January, the BJP lost Rajasthan's Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats to the Congress in bypolls in the state where it had won all the 25 seats in the last elections.

In small consolation for the BJP, its candidate Rinki Rani Pandey retained the Bhabhua Assembly seat for the party, defeating her Congress rival Shambhu Singh Patel by about 14,000 votes. He added that these results indicate that the 'Modi Wave' of 2014 has vanished with the hardline rule of Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Hindu Yuva Vahini founder Yogi Adityanath.

SP's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel won from Phulpur by a margin of 59,613 votes beating his nearest rival BJP's Kaushlendra Singh Patel. Maurya alleged that while BSP-SP announced support, even Congress, which had fielded its candidates gave indirect support to the SP candidate. A lot has changed since, notably Akhilesh Yadav taking over SP from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was the party boss when the incident occurred. The SP victory is like winning a crucial league cricket match before the knockout stage of the tournament which improves the net run rate and bolsters the team's prospects in upcoming tight contests. The SP, a champion of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the Muslims in UP, and the BSP, an exponent of the Dalits, were routed by the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the 2017 Assembly election.

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Still, the BJP expected to win the seats but in the election which though having a low turnout has ended in the defeat of the BJP.

The volatile Hindi heartland has delivered its first shocker to the ruling BJP, with the party losing in fiercely fought by-polls for three seats.

The Phulpur seat saw the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party combine win with a margin of almost 60,000 votes. In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena has already declared that it is parting BJP's company before the Lok Sabha polls. "That is why, the impact of the Centre ditching the people of Andhra Pradesh was clearly visible in the by-elections", he said. "We will form a strategy to tackle this political trading", said the CM who completed his first year in office in UP on March 19. The SP won 47 seats with 21.8 per cent votes.

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Social scientist Badri Narayan says that the success of the BSP-SP electoral pact could encourage both parties to evolve a long-term alliance.

Congress spokesperson Jyotiraditya Scindia said the results of the by-polls clearly indicated that across the country, people had spoken out against the "anti-farmer" rule of the Central government. "Though experimental in nature, this alliance has brought them back in the race of 2019 elections", said Jha.

As it became clear that the BJP was headed for a twin rout, overjoyed Samajwadi Party activists and leaders took to the streets in Phulpur and Gorakhpur to celebrate.

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UP, Bihar Bypolls: BJP Lost in All Three Lok Sabha Seats