Calls for common Oppn front against BJP in 2019 grow after loss in UP, Bihar

Lucknow/Mumbai : The reverses suffered by the BJP in the Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Thursday triggered urgent calls by rival parties to forge a united opposition front to take on the saffron party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

As Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) supremo Mayawati led the opposition charge urging people not to let the BJP to come to power again at the Centre, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav indicated his party was keen on burying the hatchet with the BSP, saying sometimes “past incidents have to be forgotten”. Mayawati also said the BJP may go in for early general elections.

Addressing a rally in Chandigarh, Mayawati said her party supported the SP candidates in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha bypolls in order to defeat the BJP.

In a stunning blow to the BJP, the party on Wednesday lost bypolls to all the three Lok Sabha seats it contested, including its bastion Gorakhpur, and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh, besides Araria in Bihar.

While BJP’s estranged ally Shiv Sena said the results will give a boost to the opposition, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP said it showed that a united opposition can defeat the BJP-led regime. The NCP termed the BJP’s defeat as a “shape of things to come.”

The results of the byelections in UP and Bihar will give a boost to the opposition, an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said, adding that people are now out of their “illusionary world”.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi met NCP chief Sharad Pawar in New Delhi in a bid to step up efforts to put up an united front against the BJP ahead of the 2019 polls, sources said.

The sources said that Gandhi met Pawar at the latter’s residence last night but no details were available.

Enthused by his party’s strong showing in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, Akhilesh Yadav declined to respond to a volley of questions on SP’s future course of action on stitching any pre-poll alliance. “No one can say anything about the future,” Yadav said when asked about the possibility of the bitter rivals–the SP and the BSP – coming together again. The SP won both the seats with BSP’s backing.

Speaking to reporters in Lucknow, Yadav also said that his party’s ties with Congress too continued to be good.

On Wednesday, in a scene which seemed unimaginable only till the recent past, Yadav had rushed to the residence of the Mayawati shortly after his candidates emerged victorious and thanked her.

Following SP’s win in the bypolls, there has been much speculation about UP’s two biggest regional parties joining hands to take on a formidable BJP in the 2019 general elections.

Buoyed by bypolls victory, the RJD MLAs staged a demonstration outside the Bihar assembly, demanding resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the ruling coalition’s defeat.

The RJD registered emphatic victories in Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad assembly seats. The BJP was defeated in Araria though it succeeded in winning Bhabhua assembly seat. Kumar’s JD(U) suffered a crushing defeat in Jehanabad.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the bypoll results are a victory of the united forces for social justice.

“There was no division of votes and the BJP could not benefit from such a split. In the 2019 general elections, when the division of secular votes will not be there, the BJP will be defeated. What happened yesterday will impact the general elections,” Malik, a former Maharashtra minister, told PTI in Mumbai.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said BJP is “sinking”. “We can see BJP is sinking … It is sinking quite fast,” the BJD leader said when asked to comment on the BJP’s performance.

The CPI said fielding a common opposition candidate against the BJP would be the best strategy to defeat the lead party of the ruling NDA in the next Lok Sabha elections.

CPI General Secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said it is possible to adopt such an approach in most of the states.

Yogi skips event after bypoll loss

Gonda (UP): After BJP’s defeat in Lok Sabha by-elections in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday cancelled his scheduled visit here because of “unavoidable reasons” and sent his deputy Dinesh Sharma in his place.

Adityanath was scheduled to take part in the ongoing All India Lok Kala Sangam at Deendayal Shodh Sansthan on Thursday, reports PTI.

The organisers of the programme said that the chief minister’s visit has been put off due to unavoidable reasons.

Meanwhile, on BJP’s loss in the bye-elections, the deputy chief minister said, “Victory and defeat are part of politics…the party had posted an impressive win in the local body elections prior to this.”

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