3/15/2018 1:50:24 AM
|written By : Team India Se|
Less than two weeks after winning the Tripura assembly elections, ousting the communists from power, Indian Prime Minister Naren Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allies lost by-elections in the Hindi heartland. The opposition Samajwadi Party won the parliamentary by-elections in both Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh, India’s biggest state. In the neighbouring state of Bihar, ruled by the BJP ally, chief minister Nitish Kumar, the BJP won the assembly by-election in Bhabua, while the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal won the parliamentary by-election in Araria and the Jehanabad assembly seat.
The election losses were a big upset for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who represented Gorakhpur for five terms as a BJP lawmaker before vacating the Lok Sabha seat in 2017 after becoming chief minister. Phulpur was similarly vacated by the deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya. The election results were a “lesson” for the BJP, admitted Adityanath, conceding his party because of its “overconfidence” and “inability to understand” the electoral understanding reached between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP). The BSP supported the SP candidates. “We didn't expect that BSP's vote will be transferred to SP in such a manner,” said Maurya. In fact, Adityanath called the two opposition parties “the snake and the mongoose” because they had fought each other tooth and nail in the past.
"Election results in UP always sends out larger political messages," Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav told reporters. " If this is the anger of people in the areas of the CM and the deputy CM, you can imagine the anger of the people in the rest of the country.”
He thanked the BSP for its support and hinted that the Yogi Adityanath government might not have come to power in 2017 if his party had partnered with the BSP.
The Samajwadi Party had contested the UP assembly elections in alliance with Rahul Gandhi's Congress in 2017, an alliance that was a disaster and reduced the Samajwadis, who contested nearly 300 seats, to just 47 seats while the Congress won only seven.
The Bihar by-election results were similarly a setback for the state’s chief minister Nitish Kumar. It was the first electoral battle in Bihar since he broke with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and joined hands with the BJP. Initially, his Janata Dal (United) had announced it would not contest the by-elections, but following an appeal from the BJP, it contested the Jehanabad seat which it had won in 2010 and lost to the RJD.