Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

UP bypoll results shows end of 'overhyped' Modi magic: Kerala CM

UP bypoll results shows end of 'overhyped' Modi magic: Kerala CM

Mr Gandhi said, 'Congratulations to the winners of the bypolls.

In Gorakhpur, Samajwadi Party candidate Praveen Kumar Nishad is leading by more than 19,000 votes.

Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's attempt to position the party at the centre of a formidable Opposition front, however, continues to receive mixed responses as the Congress increasingly loses its touch. Though Mayawati had made it clear that the understanding with the SP was only for this round of by-elections, the results would force both sides to come together to fight their common enemy in 2019.

With the original Grand Alliance unraveled after the JD-U deserted it in favor of the BJP, there was a lot at stake for everyone in the by-elections: the RJD, JD-U, BJP and Congress. He had also claimed that the BJP will win all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections. No wonder Yogi Adityanath, dubbed the "strongman of Gorakpur", could no better than come up with the lame excuse that the setback was the result of the unofficial SP-BSP alliance.

Gorakhpur and Phulpur were vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.

The streak of nightmare followed the party also in Bihar, where the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad Yadav, who many thought was politically marginalised after being sent to jail in fodder scam case, triumphed over BJP retaining the Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad Assembly seats.

"Election performances of both SP and BSP seemed to convey they had lost their political ground in recent past and were fighting for survival". Even if the BJP's defeat is not the direct result of this omission, it is bound to tighten Modi's grip over the party.

Shiv Sena's senior leader Sanjay Rawat denouncing BJP's "politics of opportunism" by encouraging massive defection, commented that God has deserted the BJP on the day when it extended a red carpet welcome to SP leader Naresh Agarwal, who had earlier abused Lord Rama.

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In Araria, the RJD's Sarfaraz Alam defeated BJP-JD (U) combine's Pradeep Kumar Singh by over 60,000 votes.

The SP has been the runner-up for Gorakhpur seat many times before, while it has won the Phulpur seat four times since 1996.

The bypoll results have, however, managed to widen the possibilities around the 2019 General Elections, and in the short term, the campaign programmes being built around Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who was to be deployed extensively in Karnataka. She announced her support to the SP candidates at the eleventh hour, first time since 1993 when the two parties were in the same boat. The loss was to a rejuvenated alliance between the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.

In a rare show of camaraderie, Samajwadi Party leaders admitted that the BSP decision to back their party played a critical role in the outcome.

According to the State Election Office, 47 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise in Gorakhpur, whereas the turnout in Phulpur was lower at 38 per cent. He said there was a need for opposition leaders to shed their ego.

In Bihar, RJD's Suday Yadav and BJP candidate Rinki Rani Pandey won from Jehanabad and Bhabhua assembly seats respectively. As prime minster Narendra Modi retained his Varanasi seat and resigned from Vadodara, BJP won the seat again easily.

The Congress, which lost its deposit in both seats after refusing to join the SP-BSP alliance, was left expressing its satisfaction on that point at least.

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