Early trends are indicating that the BJP is likely to retain Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s bastion of Gorakhpur but the SP is ahead in Phulpur, a seat that was represented by deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya.
According to reports at 9.30 am, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was leading by over 3,000 votes on the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat while the Samajwadi Party (SP) was ahead by over 2,000 votes.
The results are expected to be declared by afternoon by the Election Commission (EC).
The bypolls were necessitated after Adityanath and Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively, following their election to the state legislative council.
Termed by Adityanath a “rehearsal” for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the bypolls saw a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the SP and the Congress.
The saffron party had fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur.
The SP had fielded Pravin Nishad from Gorakhpur and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel from Phulpur. The Congress had nominated Sureetha Kareem for Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra for Phulpur.
The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) had decided against fielding a candidate and instead was supporting the SP.
Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Adityanath, the seat was thrice represented in Parliament by his mentor, Yogi Avaidyanath.
Phulpur, once represented by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha election when Maurya won the seat.