UP by-polls: Low polling percentage a worrying sign for ruling BJP

A low 53% voting in seven assembly constituencies of UP that went to polls on November 3 has sent shock waves in the BJP camp after reports that people in rural areas have voted in large numbers

UP by-polls: Low polling percentage a worrying sign for ruling BJP
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NH Correspondent/Lucknow

A low voting percentage, 53 per cent, in seven assembly constituencies of Uttar Pradesh that went to polls on November 3 has sent shock waves in the BJP camp after reports that people in the rural areas have voted in large numbers as compared to the urban parts of the constituencies.

“The election results are bound to give hiccups to the political parties as the low polling percentage and presence of all major political parties in the fray could spring surprise,” Nomita P Kumar of Giri Institute of Development Studies said.

The polling percentage has come down by over 10 per cent as compared to the 2017 elections with the highest dip visible in Nagawan Sadat in Amroha where in 2017 polling percentage was over 76 per cent while this time it is 61.50 per cent. There are reports too that villages have voted in large numbers as compared to urban areas thus giving sleepless nights to the BJP whose vote bank is more city-centric.

Kumar said the equations have changed because BSP is contesting by-elections after many decades and Congress is giving a fight to the main opponents like BJP and Samajwadi Party. “In this scenario, it will be difficult to predict winners and losers,” she said.

The polling was held for the seven seats with 88 candidates in the fray. BJP had won six out of seven seats while SP bagged one in 2017 elections. “As BJP had won maximum seats the pressure would be on the ruling party to retain all its seats. But the ground reality is different from what it was in 2017 and is bound to have a different result,” a social activist, Brijesh Mishra said.

In the 2017 elections, Samajwadi Party and Congress had contested the election as allies. But this time they have contested separately. Besides, in Deoria a rebel BJP candidate has entered the fray while in Bangarmau and Ghatampur Congress is likely to do well. Mayawati’s revelation about the secret deal with BJP has also made the election interesting as ground reports suggest that Muslims have shunned BSP and have voted in favour of the SP and Congress.

In some constituencies people boycotted elections. In Tundla in Firozabad district villagers boycotted the by-election alleging that there has been no development in their area. Chanting "vikas nahi, to vote nahi" (no development, no vote), voters at the Rudhau Mustkil booth number 30 boycotted the polling.

The by-elections were held in Malhani (Jaunpur), Tundla (Firozabad), Bunaldshahr, Naugawan Sadat (Amroha), Ghatampur (Kanpur City), Bangarmau (Unnao), and Deoria. Of these seats, six were previously held by the BJP while SP had won Malhani.

However, all the political parties have claimed victory in the by-elections. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said that though the ruling BJP used the government machinery during campaigning, it is all set to lose the election. “It is the beginning of the end of Yogi Raj,” he said in a statement.

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