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       INDIA Next Article: UP, Bihar witness close contest in bypolls  
       UP, Bihar bypolls: BJP loses all three Parliament seats; SP, RJD win big
         Posted on :15:18:57 Mar 14, 2018
       Last edited on:17:29:59 Mar 14, 2018
         Tags: UP, Bihar bypolls, BJP loses, SP, RJD win big

GORAKHPUR/PATNA: The Bharatiya Janata Party is staring at defeat in two key parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh -- Gorakhpur and Phulpur -- which were vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya after their entry into the Assembly in April, 2017.

Both seats were a prestige fight for the BJP. Gorakhpur has been held by Yogi Adityanath since 1998 – he was the youngest MP at 26 – and three times before that by his mentor Advaidyanath.

Phulpur is an extremely prominent Lok Sabha seat that the BJP had wrested only in 2014. It has been represented by Jawaharlal Nehru, his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit and also former Prime Minister V P Singh.

The fate of the third parliamentary seat being called today is Araria in Bihar, where too the BJP is trailing, this time behind Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD.

Counting is also on for two Assembly seats in Bihar. The BJP is leading in Bhabua while RJD leads again in Jehanabad.

Since there are no permanent enemies in politics, the Samjawadi Party and the Bahujan Party have come together this time to stop the BJP. The last time they joined hands was in 1992 -- to take charge of the state after the sacking of BJP’s Kalyan Singh in the aftermath of the Babri demolition.

SP's Praveen Kumar Nishad is leading in the Gorakhpur constituency with 293,153 votes after 19 rounds of counting. BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla is second with 264,416 votes.

In Phulpur, SP's Pratap Singh Patel is leading by 29,474 with 218,963 votes, while BJP's Kaushlendra Singh Patel is second with 189,489 votes after 20 rounds of counting.

In Bihar, RJD is leading by 23,187 with 3,33,050 votes, while BJP trailing with 3,09,863 votes for Araria constituency.

BJP is leading in Bhabua Assembly seat with 40,501 votes and RJD is leading in Jehanabad Assembly seat with 52,609 votes.

The results are expected to be declared by afternoon.

Byelections in Uttar Pradesh, necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their seats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituency, respectively, on taking office, are being seen as a prestige battle for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). It will also test the recently formed electoral arrangement between the two arch-rivals -- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP). The two parties have come together in Phulpur and Gorakhpur for the first time after 1991 to take on the BJP.

Termed by Adityanath a “rehearsal” for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the byelections are witnessing a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress.

In Uttar Pradesh, the BSP is supporting the SP candidates in the two Lok Sabha seats while Congress, which contested the 2017 assembly poll with Samajwadi Party, had fielded its own candidates.

For the BJP, the election is a prestige issue for chief minister Yogi Adityanath who represented the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat five times in a row till he took over as chief minister in 2017.

Phulpur, a seat earlier represented by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was won for the first time by the BJP in 2014 when Keshav Prasad Maurya, a former mayor of Varanasi, won the seat with a margin of 3.76 lakh votes.

In Bihar's Araria, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress are pitted against the BJP-Janata Dal (United) alliance and it’s the first big test for Nitish Kumar after he walked out of the Grand Alliance last year to team up with the BJP.

Bihar bypolls are being seen as a litmus test for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after he pulled out of the state's Grand Alliance and joined the BJP.

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