The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath received a major blow when the Samajwadi Party (SP), backed by its once-rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), bagged the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats on Wednesday (Mar 14).
The SP candidates won Phulpur and Gorakhpur constituencies by 59,613 and 21,916 votes respectively.
Let us see what made BJP lose the UP by-polls to SP:
1. Well, to quote Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, who lost his Gorakhpur seat to SP, it was BJP’s “overconfidence” that cost them this defeat.
Speaking at an event organised by The Times of India on Thursday (Mar 15), Yogi Adityanath said: “I was five-time MP from Gorakhpur and before me, my guruji (Mahant Avaidyanath) was the MP for four terms. Nobody thought we would lose this seat, and therefore, didn’t put in the required effort.”
2. The BJP perhaps underestimated the impact of Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati combination.
They were quick to realize that it would not be easy to defeat them if they come together. And hence, SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati took no time in dropping their past political budget and join hand before the UP by-polls.
As a part of the last-minute partnership, Mayawati did not field candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. The BSP, instead, supported the SP candidates and campaigned for them.
The results were evident.
3. If we back-track, we will see how Gorakhpur child deaths have gone against the Yogi government.
Over 70 children died at the state-run BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur last year after oxygen supply was cut off, as per investigation by Gorakhpur district magistrate Rajeev Rautela.
4. This time, the BJP picked its Gorakhpur candidate – Upendra Shukla – from outside the Gorakhnath temple.
For the past 29 years, the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple had been fielded as the saffron party’s candidate for the said constituency. This time, Upendra Shukla had to contest the election sans religious sentiments.
5. The BJP, to make sure it does not lose its hold over the Patel community, made a hurried decision to field Kaushalendra Singh Patel against SP candidate Nagendra Singh Patel.
Now, if you see the political background of Kaushalendra Singh Patel, you will know that he is more capable in handling Mirzapur and Varanasi. In fact, he was not even ready for a direct fight in Gorakhpur as he was just overseeing the election management there.
It became quite obvious that the people would choose “local” Patel community leader Nagendra Singh Patel over “outsider” Kaushalendra Singh Patel.
Pic: Facebook @yadavakhilesh
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.