UP bypolls: Poor turnout as both SP, BJP claim victory
Worryingly for the BJP in Phulpur, the poorest polling was reported from urban seats. Meanwhile SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the UP Lok Sabha bypolls outcome would be “a game changer”
Poor polling percentage was recorded in the bypolls for the Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, said Election Commission officials. About 43% of voters had exercised their franchise in Gorakhpur when official voting hours ended at 5 pm, while this was just 38% for the urban Phulpur seat in Allahabad.
The balloting percentage in Gorakhpur, represented in the Lok Sabha by Yogi Adityanath before he became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, is a big drop from the 54.64% recorded in 2014. Phulpur, represented by the present Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya before his election to the Legislative Council, had logged 50% voting in the 2014 general elections.
Worryingly for the BJP in Phulpur, the poorest polling on Sunday was reported from Allahabad (East), where only 21.65% of voters turned up to exercise their franchise, followed by Allahabad (West) with 31%. These urban seats were won by BJP in the 2017 UP assembly elections. In Gorakhpur, the lowest voter turnout of 33% was in Gorakhpur city, and the highest 47% in Sahjanwa and Campierganj.
Snags in electronic voting machines were reported from some places. Polling was held up at Kidwai College in Allahabad (East) for some time due to a technical glitch.
Both Chief Minister Adityanath and Maurya claimed victory for the BJP candidates, irrespective of the voter turnout in the two seats. He also denied the influence of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance on the bypoll results. "This is an unholy and opportunistic alliance and the people know their real agenda very well and will thus defeat them emphatically," the Chief Minister said. Maurya said "On March 14, when the votes are counted, the Bua-Bhatija (Mayawati-Akhilsh Yadav) will suffer another sad jolt."
SP chief and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter and claimed that the byelection outcome would be "historic and a game changer".
Bharatiya Janata Party's Upendra Dutt Shukla is in the fray in Gorakhpur, represented by Adityanath since 1998. The Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded Praveen Nishad in Gorakhpur. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have extended support to the SP candidate. The Congress is fighting on its own and has named Surithaa Kareem as its candidate.
The BJP has fielded Kaushlendra Singh Patel against Nagendra Singh Patel of the SP in Phulpur. The BSP, here too, is supporting the SP candidate. The Congress has fielded Manish Mishra.
Counting is on Wednesday, March 14.
Inputs by NH Web Desk.