SP acknowledges BSP role; Rahul, Mamata take on BJP

In Uttar Pradesh, where Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party went for an alliance with local rival Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati, the BJP lost Gorakhpur, the parliamentary constituency Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath represented for two decades before assuming his present office.

Today's results may also shape the future alliance among the non-BJP parties in Uttar Pradesh as the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party had chose to back the Samajwadi Party candidate from both Gorakhpur and Phulpur.

JDS state president HD Kumaraswamy, who has entered into an alliance with BSP for the Karnataka assembly polls, congratulated party supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for the victory in the Uttar Pradesh by-polls.

He said local factors play a role in byelections but in the General Elections, the good performance of the Modi government and its welfare schemes will have an impact in BJP's favour.

In Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, Samajwadi Party's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel is leading by 12,231 votes with 99,557 votes as against BJP's Kaushlendra Singh Patel who is second with 87,326 votes after eight round of counting.

Arguing that the central theme of the results was disenchantment with the BJP, the Congress leaders said this would automatically alter the national political dynamics and empower the demoralised opposition forces.

The BJP lost Gorakhpur seat to the SP by a margin of 21,961 votes. In fact, the alliance helped the BJP to register massive success. "I believe that Lord Ram was angry with you [BJP], the day you rolled out the red carpet for the SP leader, who has criticised Lord Ram", he said. But no such excuses were available in UP where BJP swept to power with an unprecedented 300+ seats in a House of 402 only last March.

The BJP had wrested Phulpur Lok Sabha seat only in 2014.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today said that the bypolls results were a "lesson" for his party.

Lalu Prasad's RJD retained Araria Lok Sabha in Bihar, the results for which was also announced on Wednesday. Alliance formation, however, will be a lot trickier in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections than they were in UP bypolls.

In 2014 LS elections, SP had won five seats with 22.35 percent vote share, while BSP could not win a single seat despite polling 19.77 percent votes. But the BJP leader's old fear has now come true.

In the Jehanabad assembly constituency, Suday Yadav of the RJD defeated JD-U candidate Abhiram Sharma by 35,036 votes while the BJP's Rinki Pandey worsted Sambhu Patel of the Congress, a RJD ally, by 15,000 votes in Bhabua assembly constituency.

The elections though meant little in terms of numbers in Parliament, where the BJP has an overwhelming majority, but they will dampen the saffron party's "invincible" image.

"The Congress will also be forced to come into this fold with all the major players", Dixit said, adding that all these parties were working to oust the BJP.

Vanessa Coleman

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