The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday lost two key parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh, Gorakhpur and Phulpur, which were vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya after their entry into the Assembly in April, 2017.
The BJP lost its ‘safest’ and most prestigious seat Gorakhpur, ruled by Yogi Adityanath since 1998.
Phulpur was won in 2014 by Keshav Prasad Maurya under whose leadership the BJP went to polls in the last Lok Sabha. He had won it by over three lakh votes in 2014.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) buried differences these elections to put up a united front in these two seats. Though talk of a formal alliance is still up in the air, the BSP successfully supported the SP candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur to see them through.
Samajwadi Party’s Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel won Phulpur Lok Sabha seat by 59,613 votes.
Praveen Kumar Nishad won from Gorakhpur, beating BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,881 votes.
After the unexpected defeat – of seats formerly held by the two top administrators in the state — Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “We accept the verdict of the people… this result is unexpected, we will review our shortcomings. I congratulate the winning candidates.”
The third Lok Sabha seat that went to polls was Araria in Bihar which was retained by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. RJD’s Sarfaraz Alam won the Araria Lok Sabha seat by 61,988 votes. Alam got 5,09,334 votes while the BJP candidate got 4,47,346.
Two Assembly seats in Bihar also went to polls. The BJP won Bhabua, while the RJD got Jehanabad.
Both Uttar Pradesh seats were prestige fights for the BJP.
Gorakhpur has been held by Yogi Adityanath since 1998 – he was the youngest MP at 26 – and three times before that by his mentor Avaidyanath.
Phulpur is an extremely prominent Lok Sabha seat that the BJP had wrested only in 2014. It has been represented thrice by Jawaharlal Nehru, his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit and also former Prime Minister V P Singh.
Since there are no permanent enemies in politics, the election results will also test how far the loose alliance between the two arch-rivals — Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party – can go bedfore the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The last time they joined hands was in 1993 — to stop the BJP from coming to power gain after Kalyan Singh’s government was sacked in the aftermath of the Babri demolition.