Bharatiya Janata Party Suffers Shock Defeat in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar By-polls

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Taking to social media, Gandhi said the people will vote for the non-BJP candidate who has the strongest chance of winning.

"The Congress is keen on rebuilding the party in Uttar Pradesh, but that will not happen overnight", he tweeted in Hindi.

In Phulpur, SP candidate Nagender Singh Patel won against his BJP rival Kaushalendra Singh Patel by 59,613 votes.

Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, former arch-rivals, had come together for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-polls.

An estimated 55.77 per cent of the electorate had exercised their franchise in the bypolls.A total of seven candidates were in the fray in Araria but main contest was between Sarfaraz Alam of RJD and Pradeep Singh of BJP.

In conclusion, it won't be improper to say that Modi's BJP would be really anxious if Adityanath's remark - that these bypolls are "dress rehearsal" before the 2019 general elections - were incidental or prophetic.

Adityanath said he accepted the verdict in the two byelections in the state as people are supreme in democracy but he hoped that people will also understand the harm that could come on the state due to this SP-BSP alliance. He said that if in 2019 or 2022, the opposition comes together in the similar manner then party would also form its strategy accordingly.

The setback comes as a huge shocker to the year-old BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, where Adityanath has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha seat for five consecutive times.

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The results for the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by-polls declared on Wednesday were not in favour of BJP.

The SP-BSP alliance was formed with the sole goal to defeat the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Even if the BJP's defeat is not the direct result of this omission, it is bound to tighten Modi's grip over the party. "The over-confidence and inability to understand the electoral understanding between the SP and the BSP led to the defeat", he stressed.

"By-Poll results have given a clear message that people are angry with BJP for its arrogance and misrule", he added.

The SP was the runner-up in Gorakhpur many times, while it had won the Phulpur seat four times since 1996.

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.

In Gorakhpur, Samajwadi Party candidate Praveen Kumar Nishad is leading by 1,523.

In Jehanabad assembly constituency, Suday Yadav of the RJD defeated JD-U's Abhiram Sharma by 35,036 votes while BJP's Rinki Pandey scored over Sambhu Patel of the Congress, an RJD ally, by 15,000 votes in Bhabua assembly constituency. There was transfer of votes from BSP to the Samajwadi Party candidates. Yet, the RJD retained the seat with a comfortable margin of almost 62,000 votes.

Congress said that the BJP now had 271 members, minus the two rebel MPs, Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha. While it is hard to say if Congress's decision to keep itself out of the alliance was out of compulsion or design, but it did cut into BJP votes that ensured a smooth sailing of the SP candidates. As prime minster Narendra Modi retained his Varanasi seat and resigned from Vadodara, BJP won the seat again easily.

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