NEW DELHI: It was terrible Tuesday for the BJP. The party is on the way to losing bye-elections in two Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, and missed out on a chance to snatch one constituency from the RJD in Bihar. The BJP and JDU also failed to secure two Assembly seats in Bihar and only retained a seat that the BJP had won on its own in 2015.
The BJP was significantly behind Samajwadi Party candidates in both seats. In Gorakhpur, BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla trailed SP’s Pravin Nishad by close to 15,000 votes after 14 rounds of counting. In Phulpur, SP’s Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel enjoyed a lead of over 20,000 votes over BJP’s Kaushalendra Singh Patel.
The loss in UP’s Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies is bound to sting the BJP, especially Gorakhpur. The last time BJP or its associate organisations did not win the seat was in 1984, when the Congress won in the sympathy wave after the Indira Gandhi assassination. In the that election, the Congress had swept battles across the country, winning in 404 constituencies.
The loss of Phulpur may not dent morale, considering 2014 was the first time ever that the BJP won the constituency. However, what could worry the ruling BJP is that in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, it had won both constituencies with humongous margins – Gorakhpur by 3.13 lakh votes and Phulpur by 3.08 lakh votes.
In the bye-election to Bihar’s Araria Lok Sabha constituency, BJP’s Pradeep Kumar Singh failed to take the seat back. He had lost to RJD’s Mohammed Taslimuddin in 2014, and is now trailing to his son, Sarafaraz Alam, by about 24,000 votes. Significant however is the fact that BJP has managed to sharply thin the margin – it had lost in 2014 by 1.47 lakh votes.
In the bypoll to the Jehanabad Assembly seat, RJD Kumar Krishna Mohan Yadav led JDU’s Abhiram Sharma by over 32,000 votes. The RJD candidate’s father, Mundrika Singh Yadav, had won in 2014 with a margin of 30,000 votes.
The Bhabua seat was the lone lining of silver in an otherwise dark day for the BJP. The party’s candidate, Rinki Rani Pandey, is ahead by about 24,000 votes. Her late husband, Anand Bhushan Pandey, had won by about 8,000 votes in 2015.