Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Wednesday wrested the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is leading over the BJP candidate in Gorakhpur, latest trends showed.
The SP had an electoral understanding with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and tied up with local satraps. Its candidate Pravin Nishad was leading over Upendra Dutt Shukla of BJP by 26,510 votes in Gorakhpur at the end of 17th round of counting.
In Phulpur, SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel convincingly defeated his BJP rival.
Though a few more rounds of counting still remain in Gorakhpur, the overall picture appears to be that voters did not back the saffron party ahead in what were seen as crucial by-elections in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Uttar Pradesh is crucial to Narendra Modi’s strategy for re-election as prime minister. In 2014, the BJP won 71 seats our of the state’s 80 seats.
The by-polls were necessitated after chief minister Adityanath and his deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively, following their election to the state legislative council.