UP Bypoll Victories A Big Boost For Yogi Adityanath 15 Months Before 2022 Assembly Election

UP Bypoll Victories A Big Boost For Yogi Adityanath 15 Months Before 2022 Assembly ElectionUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Snapshot
  • The Congress, which had been preparing for the bypolls under Priyanka Gandhi, could not win a single seat.

    The party tried to woo voters by attacking Yogi Adityanath for the Hathras incident, but its efforts have come a cropper.

Over the last few months, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has received bad press on issues related to the law and order situation in the state, to the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was widely criticised for his government’s alleged insensitivity towards the family of the victim of the Hathras gangrape and the encounter of dreaded criminals by the UP Police.

But, if the results of the bypolls in the state are anything to go by, the Chief Minister and his government remain as popular as ever ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in the state, which the Opposition says, will be a 'referendum' on his performance.

Of the seven Assembly seats which went to polls on 3 November, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to hold six which it had won in 2017.

The Samajwadi Party, led by former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, retained one seat.

In Deoria Sadar constituency, all major parties fielded Brahmin candidates. BJP’s Satya Prakash Mani Tripathi, who was fielded by the party after denying ticket to the son of a two-time party MLA whose death in August necessitated the byelection, managed to defeat the SP candidate by over 20,000 votes.

Reports say no candidate from the caste had won here since 1989.

The result, analysts said, shows that the BJP ’s upper caste vote remains intact.

In the Tundla Assembly constituency, which had become a battle of prestige for the BJP, the BJP won by 17,000 votes. The Chief Minister and the two deputy Chief Ministers held multiple rallies to woo voters in this seat.

Dalit Jatav and Baghel/Dhangar are the dominant castes in this seat, which saw a triangular contest between the BJP, SP and Mayawati’s BSP.

In 2017, the BJP had won this seat for the first time since 1997. SP won the seat in the 2002 election and the BSP in 2007 and 2012.

In the Bangermau Assembly constituency, BJP candidate Shrikant Katiyar defeated Congress' Arti Bajpai by over 31,000 votes. In Kanpur’s Ghatampur, the party defeated the Congress by a margin of over 23,000 votes.

In the Naugawan Sadat Assembly constituency, where both SP and BSP fielded candidates from the Muslim community, the BJP’s Sangeeta Chauhan defeated the SP candidate by a margin of over 15,000 votes.

In the Bulandshahr Assembly seat, the BJP candidate defeated BSP’s Haji Yunus by a margin of over 21,000 votes.

In Malhani, the SP won by a slim margin of nearly 4,500 votes.

The Congress, which had been preparing for the polls under Priyanka Gandhi, could not win a single seat in the bypolls.

The party tried to woo voters by attacking Yogi Adityanath for the Hathras incident. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had visited the victim’s home in Hathras ahead of the polls.

The BSP too failed to taste success, and it had to contend with the second and third spots in most of the seats which went to polls on 3 November.

The BJP’s bypoll victories, which comes ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections, suggest that Chief Minister Adityanath has retained his popularity in the state.

The BJP’s caste arithmetic, which was tested in seats like Tundla, also appears sound.

While Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati and Priyanka Gandhi had stayed away from the election campaign, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had campaigned in all the seven constituencies along with other senior BJP leaders.

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