BJP's Mission 2019 gets major scare in UP, Bihar bypolls
In a huge blow to the ruling BJP and its plans to retain power at the Centre in 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar took winning leads in the Lok Sabha seats of UP's Gorakhpur and Phulpur, and Bihar's Araria.
In Bihar, the RJD was leading in the Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad Assembly by-election, while the ruling BJP-JDU alliance was ahead in the Bhabua Assembly seat.
HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
- The two Lok Sabha seats in UP -- Gorakhpur and Phulpur -- were vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.
- With the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) backing its bitter rival Samajwadi Party, the BJP appeared to be heading for a shock defeat in both the constituencies.
- The Samajwadi Party took an early lead right from the beginning of the vote count and steadily increased the gap as officials furiously counted the tens of thousands of votes polled in the Sunday by-elections.
- After the 10th round of counting in Phulpur, BJP's Kashlendra Singh Patel had secured 1,06,534 votes and the Samajwadi Party's Nagendra Singh Patel 1,22,247 -- a lead of 15,713 votes.
- In Gorakhpur, which Adityanath represented for five straight terms since 1998, BJP candidate Upendra Dutt Shukla was trailing to the Samajwadi Party by 7,139 votes, an Election Commission official told IANS.
- Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela, who had earlier sparked a storm by barring journalists from entering the counting centre and did not announce details of counting after the first two rounds, said Pravin Nishad of the Samajwadi Party was leading by 10,598 votes after eight rounds of vote count.
- While the Samajwadi Party activists started celebrating what now looks like a sure and morale-boosting victory, the BJP was stunned into silence.
- In Araria, the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate Pradip Kumar Singh was leading by 8,979 votes over RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam. But now, Alam is ahead by over 23,000 votes.
- In Bhabua, the BJP's Rinki Pandey was leading by 3,252 votes over the Congress' Sambhu Patel.
- In Jahanabad, the RJD's Suday Yadav was leading by 15,000 votes over the Janata Dal-United's Abhiram Sharma.