The counting of votes for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections in Uttar Pradesh is over, and the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has lost to the Samajwadi Party (SP) in both the seats.
In Gorakhpur, SP’s Praveen Kumar Nishad defeated the BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by over 21,000 votes.
In Phulpur, SP's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel won over BJP’s Kaushalendra Singh Patel by 59,613 votes.
These are significant losses for the BJP because while the MP for Phulpur was present Uttar Pradesh (UP) deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, for Gorakhpur it was Yogi Adityananth himself, the current chief minister. The by-elections to these two seats were brought about because the two MPs resigned from their seats following their election to the state legislature.
In 2014, BJP had won both the seats with a margin of more than 3 lakh votes, each.
In both Phulpur and Gorakhpur, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had announced its support to the SP. BSP, as a tradition, doesn’t contest by-elections. Although, this was the first time that it announced its support to its former arch rival. In return, the SP had to help the BSP get the latter’s candidate elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Even so, Mayawati did not officially call the understanding an ‘alliance’. Now, with this result, all eyes are on Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati. Other non-NDA regional parties would also want to see an alliance between SP and BSP in the politically important state of Uttar Pradesh.
Mamata Banerjee, for example, tweeted that,
If SP and BSP do get into an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it can be worrying for the BJP. In 2014, Uttar Pradesh returned 71 members of the BJP to the Lok Sabha, along with two of its ally, Apna Dal. If an SP-BSP alliance works across the state as it did in Phulpur and Gorakhpur today, the BJP would have to suffer heavy losses. In turn, that would decrease its chances of coming back to power in the centre.
Amidst all of this, the Congress lost its deposit in both the seats.