The Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be facing an unexpected setback in Uttar Pradesh with both Lok Sabha seats seeing leads for the opposition.
The victory of the BSP-SP alliance could have far reaching implications, especially for next year’s general elections.
The district magistrate in Gorakhpur initially refused to release the lead numbers in Gorakhpur and even asked accredited journalists to move out of the counting hall. Gorakhpur is the sitting seat of UP Chief Minister Adityanath, from where he has won continuously for 25 years.
Despite nine rounds of counting getting over, the District Magistrate gave out only the results of the first round until 11:30, when the BJP had a narrow lead.
By 12:50, the SP was on its way to victory with a lead of more than 13,000 votes and a total of 122,000 votes. There are a total of around 29 rounds in the constituency.
Meanwhile, results continue to pour in from other seats.
In Phulpur, SP is leading by 16,000
votes with a total 132,000 votes.
The Phulpur seat was vacated by BJP’s deputy chief minister in the state, Keshav Prasad Maurya, but is currently led by the BSP-SP candidate.
Interestingly, the two key opposition parties, the BSP and the SP, have come together to fight the Phulpur seat.
Both the BJP and the BSP-SP combine have fielded candidates from the Patel community.
Demographics in this constituency favors the opposition combine due to the presence of nearly 2.5 lakh voters belonging to the Muslim community.
In 2014, the BJP got 5.04 lakh votes in 2014 and 4.30 lakh in the 2017 assembly polls.
The SP and BSP separately got 3.59 lakh votes in 2014 and 5.20 lakh in 2017.
However, a large chunk of the Muslim votes, which used to traditionally go to the SP, is expected to go to independent candidate and local strongman Atiq Ahmed this time, helping the BJP. The Congress too has fielded a candidate.
KK Srivastava, the Phulpur candidate from SP, said he was thankful to Mayawati and BSP for ensuring his good performance.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said the defeat should not be taken lightly, given that it’s happened in the sitting seats of the chief minister and the deputy chief minister.
“This is not a small defeat…The national executive should be called and the problem should be identified and fixed,” he said.
In Bihar’s only Lok Sabha bypoll seat of Arariya, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal may lose the sitting seat to the BJP-JDU combine, though the lead has flip-flopped several times.
As of the latest numbers, the RJD had a narrow lead of just 3,500 votes and a total vote of 156,000. About 42% of the voters in the constituency belong to the Muslim community and 10.5% are Yadavs.
Out of the two assembly seats, the BJP is leading in Bhabua assembly constituency, while the RJD is leading in the Jahanabad assembly constituency.
The elections are keenly watched as the RJD is fighting alone, while its former partner JDU has shifted its alliance to the BJP’s National Democratic Alliance. As such, many expect the RJD to lose Arariya seat.
However, as of now, only the initial rounds of counting has been completed, and these are heavily influenced by postal votes.