All is not well for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Certainly not in Uttar Pradesh where the saffron party had won 71 out of 80 Parliamentary seats in 2014, courtesy an unprecedented Modi wave that took the opposition by storm almost in every part of the country. It seems the storm is gone and that too, just a year after the BJP had conquered Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly by winning 325 out of 402 seats.
The results of Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections show that the saffron party needs to re-think – has it done everything alright so far?
Until 3.00 pm on Wednesday, the BJP was on its course to a crushing defeat at the hands of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel was leading by a big margin of 29,474 votes against BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel, who was trailing behind with 1,89,489 votes after the 20th round of counting.
In Gorakhpur, Samajwadi Party’s Praveen Kumar Nishad was leading by 26,960 votes against BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla, who was on the second spot with 2,35,836 votes after the 17th round of counting.
The BJP was certainly not expecting defeats in both seats but the Samajwadi Party has gained a lot with the support of Mayawati’s BSP. The Dalit leader had decided not to field any candidate and instead back the Samajwadi Party candidates in both seats where voting took place on March 11.
The BJP was expecting that the BSP votes would not transfer to SP and the proverbial ‘Bua-Bhatija’ combine would flop. However, this didn’t happen. It was the time for BJP to get a surprise. Uttar Pradesh deputy chief Keshav Prasad Maurya put this succinctly while talking to ANI.
“We didn’t expect that BSP’s vote will be transferred to SP in such a manner. We will analyze after seeing the final results and prepare for a situation in future when BSP, SP, and Congress can come together and also make our strategy for winning 2019 elections,” he said.
Maurya previously represented Phulpur in the Lok Sabha and by-elections here was necessitated after he became UP deputy CM last year.
The success of SP-BSP combine has opened a can of woes for the saffron party. The BJP will now have to be prepared for a situation when it may have to fight against the combined might of all opposition parties.
For the hopeless opposition, Gorakhpur, Phulpur bypolls result has just provided a formula that may help them dethrone Narendra Modi from the Centre in 2019.