Samajwadi Party got a major boost in Uttar Pradesh as it won the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat by a margin of over 59,000 votes. Elections in Phulpur were necessitated after the seat was vacated by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
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.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Samajwadi Party (SP) was also leading in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s bastion Gorakhpur.
As per trends available, SP’s Praveen Kumar Nishad was leading as the counting was nearing the end. The seat was represented by Adityanath for five consecutive terms before he vacated it after becoming the Chief Minister.
Earlier in the day, reports emerged that media was barred from the counting centre in Gorakhpur while the official updates after each round of counting were being delayed deliberately.
As the opposition created a ruckus over the issue, Lucknow Assembly had to be adjourned till 12.20 pm.
The SP was ahead on the second Lok Sabha seat of Phulpur as well with a healthy lead of over 12,000 votes.
SP’s Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel polled 99,557 votes while BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel was second with 87,326 votes after eight rounds of counting.
The final 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.
Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the stronghold 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.