Telugu voters defeated BJP in Gorakhpur?

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 Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be facing an unexpected setback in Uttar Pradesh with both Lok Sabha seats seeing leads for the opposition

If the BJP draws the right lessons from the series of defeats and embarks on a course correction, it can still trump the combined Opposition in 2019. And it seems to have worked.

Buoyed by the stunning defeat of the BJP in bypolls to the three crucial Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar ~ including the Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies vacated by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively ~the Opposition parties on Wednesday said it could be a prelude to the 2019 general elections. In Phulpur SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel registered an astonishing victory with a margin of over 59613 votes over Kaushalendra Singh Patel.

BJP spokesman Chandramohan told UNI that the results were very unfortunate. That is because the seat was nearly considered a hereditary one, having belonged to the mahant, or head priest, of the Gorakhnath temple since Avaidyanath won it on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket in 1989.

RR Jha, a professor with the political science department at Banaras Hindu University, said the by-election result should not only be seen as BJP's defeat, but also as victory of an alliance between parties that were struggling for survival.

If Mayawati is the biggest gainer, then Yogi Adityanath is surely the sorest loser. In any case, even party supporters staying home in such large numbers instead of voting would be an indication of some resentment against the party and has the same effect as a swing against it. Besides, it would inevitably improve bargaining chips for the SP in allocation of seats when SP-BSP-Congress grand alliance is being sewed up ahead of the general elections.

In a rare show of camaraderie, Samajwadi Party leaders admitted that the BSP decision to back their party played a critical role in the outcome. The result is an indicator and it will have its impact in 2019. The party also failed to wrest Araria Lok Sabha seat in Bihar from the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

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As results of by-elections in two Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh became clear on Wednesday, the ruling BJP held opportunism of Opposition parties responsible for the loss, and cited their last minute alliance.

There are, of course, many caveats here.

It however does not give any hope for the Congress as the votes gathered by the party in 2018 are much lesser than what it got in 2014.

"BJP's policies have been such that they have harassed the poor, backwards, Dalits and Muslims of the state". But it is one thing to come to an arrangement over two seats. The CM had led from the front, doing several rallies. In Bihar, by retaining the Araria seat, the RJD proved that it can contest the BJP-JD (U) combine even though its supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav is in jail. And finally, there is the question of whether the BJP-run Centre will use other weapons, like the Central Bureau of Investigation, to influence how matters move forward.

Now it is high time for the leadership to realise that its failure in governance, addressing to basic problems like unemployment, price rise and farm crisis and remaining busy in raising emotional issues makes people uneasy about the BJP.

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