The bypolls on seven Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh were being touted as Mini-Assembly polls or acid tests ahead of the State level elections early 2022 not only for the chief minister Yogi Adityanath but also for his Opponents.
On Tuesday, Yogi emerged as a clear winner when he retained six out of seven Assembly seats the BJP had in the past. The Samajwadi Party retained its one seat.
Yogi was brimming with a smile in the evening. After all, BJP’s victory margin on all seats was in the range of 14,000 to 31,000. Some of these seats BJP had won for the first time in 2017 or after a long gap.
In contrast, SP’s Lucky Yadav won the Malhani seat by over 4,600 votes while the runners up was an independent candidate Dhananjay Singh.
Sharing laddoos with the deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and a few other cabinet colleagues, the CM said in Lucknow, “We have repeated the performance of 2017 in the leadership of PM Modi and party chief JP Nadda. Today’s results suggest that we would do well in the Assembly elections as well.”
Who wins what
Naugawan Sadat (Amroha): Sangeeta Chauhan won the constituency by 15,000 votes. The seat was vacated by her husband, ex-cricketer, and UP minister Chetan Chauhan who died of covid19 in August. He had been representing the constituency for long.
Bangarmau (Unnao) Shrikant Katiyar registered the highest victory margin of over 31,400 votes to win the seat vacated by ex-BJP man Kuldeep Sengar who is convicted for life for gangrape and kidnap of a minor.
Tundla: Prempal Singh Dhangar defeated SP’s Maharaj Singh Dhangar by 17,600 votes. The seat was vacated as the former MLA SP Baghel was elected to Loksabha. The BJP had won this seat for the first time in 2017 after two decades.
Ghatampur (Kanpur): Upendra Nath Paswan defeated Congress’s Dr. Kripashankar by 23,000 votes. The seat was vacated due to the death of the minister Kamla Rani Varun from Covid19.
Bulandshahr: Usha Sirohi defeated SP’s Mohammad Yunus by 21,700 votes
Deoria: BJP surprised everyone when it decided to give a ticket to its old-time karyakarta Satyaprakash Mani Tripathi, a professor of political science. He defeated SP’s stalwart and the richest candidate in the fray-Brahma Shankar Tripathi by 20,000 votes.
Malhani (Jaunpur): SP’s Lucky Yadav retained his deceased father’s seat by pipping the independent Dhananjay Singh by 4,600 votes.
Yogi and party worked hard: BJP
None of his opponents- Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati and Priyanka Gandhi-did a single rally to garner support for their candidates.
On the other hand, Yogi, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, and Dinesh Sharma and State BJP Chief Swatantra Dev Singh held two public rallies in each of the seven constituencies over the past one month.
BJP Spokesperson Naveen Srivastava said, “The Yogi government’s commendable work during the corona pandemic, arrangement of employment for jobless people and providing free ration to 40 lakh migrants and 8 crore citizens went in our favor.”
As per Srivastava, “Apart from the government, our booth level karyakartas and leaders continuously worked for people during the lockdown while opposition leaders were sitting at home. Hence, they didn’t have the moral courage to come out and seek votes.”
Why did the BJP lose the Malhani seat then? Srivastava claims, “Local factors and caste math also work in some areas. Malhani seat was with the SP’s Parasnath Yadav for long. His son has won the seat after his demise. We will work hard to snatch this seat from SP in 2022.”
The administration worked for the BJP: Samajwadi Party
Why didn't Akhilesh Yadav campaign for his candidates?
Rajeev Rai, SP leader says, “Mr. Yadav never campaigns in bypolls. Besides, the entire administration was working at the behest of the BJP. They had threatened gram pradhans and panchayat members with cases should they not support the BJP candidate. If elections were held without fear, we could have won Deoria and Amroha seats as well.”
Need to work harder: Congress
During the entire pandemic, Priyanka Gandhi wrote letters to CM Yogi apprising him of various issues.
State chief Ajay Lallu and his team connected with people on the ground held several roadshows, reached out to victims of crimes, and even went to jail many times.
All the goodwill could fetch the Congress, two runners-up--Arti Bajpai in Bangarmau and Dr. Kripashankar in Ghatampur.
Party had fielded candidates on all seven seats, but one candidate’s nomination got rejected.
Lalan Kumar, UP Congress media head, defended the outcome, “We are not happy with the results but it's quite satisfactory to see two of our candidates as runners up on the seats where we had secured fourth place in 2017. This shows people are liking the Congress but a lot needs to be done to expand our network across the state.”
Mr Kumar said that the party has started working for 2022 polls and candidates for 140 seats would be declared soon.