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Bypoll wins in UP and Bihar infuse new enthusiasm in Opposition camp

Opposition leaders, cutting across political lines, welcomed the results in which the BJP lost in three LS seats and in one of two assembly seats at stake.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2018 23:32 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Uttar Pradesh,Bihar,Bypoll Results
Samajwadi Party workers celebrate the success of their party in the Lok Sabha bypoll elections at Lahurabir Azad Park, Varanasi, India, March 14, 2018.(Rajesh Kumar / Hindustan Times)

Bypoll victories by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the key Hindi belt states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively, have infused new enthusiasm in opposition parties with leaders of some hinting at a larger anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in 2019 for the parliamentary elections.

Opposition leaders, cutting across political lines, welcomed the results in which the BJP lost in three LS seats and in one of two assembly seats at stake. The results came a day after United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi hosted dinner for leaders of 20 opposition parties in what is widely seen as an attempt to build bridges ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi met NCP chief Sharad Pawar late on Wednesday night, but other details are not known.

Some opposition parties see the results as a cue for more political adjustments between parties in 2019 as SP candidates, with support from arch-rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), defeated the BJP candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. “These results will compel secular democratic parties to evolve a suitable electoral and tactical line with the sole objective of defeating the BJP,” Communist Party of India leader D Raja said. RJD chief Lalu Prasad actually spoke of fighting “together” against the BJP when he replied to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s congratulatory tweet on Wednesday.

Banerjee, whose TMC nurtures an ambition to play a larger role in national politics, dubbed RJD’s victory in Araria and Jehanabad as “a great victory.” “Thank you Didi..Together we are fighting, we shall fight, and we will Win,” Prasad replied on the micro-blogging site.

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah revealed how the BSP’s Rajya Sabha leader Satish Chandra Mishra had predicted a “surprise result” when they met on Tuesday evening at Gandhi’s dinner. Abdullah also congratulated Prasad and Akhilesh Yadav and tweeted, “Thank you for giving people the promise of a better future after 2019.”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is still deliberating on opening its doors for political alliances with the Congress, concluded that the Modi magic is over. Kerala CM Pinarai Vijayan said, “Results of bypolls in UP signal the end of over-hyped Modi magic built on false promises, fake claims.” Another senior opposition leader Sharad Yadav maintained that the by-election results are not just an exemplary win for the people of the two states, but for the country. Biju Janata Dal leader Bharatruhari Mahtab didn’t want to speculate on any larger opposition alliance but said, “The BJP should understand for whom the bell tolls.”

While Siddaramaiah, the CM of poll-bound Karnataka, underlined that “unity among the non-BJP parties has played a key role”, the Aam Aadmi Party said poll results were an answer to those pushing the country into the fire of religion and false nationalism.

First Published: Mar 14, 2018 23:32 IST