The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) swept the Uttar Pradesh bypolls on Tuesday in a massive blow to the BJP just four months after it swept to power at the Centre on the back of its stunning success in the politically-significant northern state.
The regional SP not only retained the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s stronghold, but also wrested eight of 11 assembly seats from the BJP, which only managed to retain three seats — Lucknow East Noida and Saharanpur Nagar.
The BJP’s loss is likely to force it to rethink its political strategy in UP for the 2017 assembly elections, which it was hoping to sweep, after the party won 71 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the general elections.
Meanwhile, the Apna Dal-BJP alliance candidate’s defeat in Rohania assembly bypoll is a big setback for not only the saffron brigade but also for PM Narendra Modi as the assembly segment is part of his Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.
Mahendra Patel, the SP candidate won the Rohania seat by defeating his nearest rival Apna Dal-BJP candidate Krishna Patel.
The overall results are a big morale booster for SP, which now has 232 seats in the 403-member assembly while the BJP’s strength has gone down from 47 to 39.
SP state spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary called this a victory of the party’s development agenda and defeat of the BJP’s communal plan, including the so-called love jihad campaign. “People have rejected the BJP within 110 days of the BJP’s ascent to power in Delhi riding on Modi’s lies,” he said.
Mulayam Singh Yadav will now re-energise the party for a second term in the state.