Dissent costs BJP big in Uttar Pradesh
In a major upset for the BJP, the ruling Samajwadi Party and its allies were set to sweep the polls, leading in 40 of the 80 seats in the state.
In a major upset for the BJP, the ruling Samajwadi Party and its allies were set to sweep the polls, leading in 40 of the 80 seats in the state. According to trends late Thursday, the SP was poised to get 36 seats and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal three in western UP. The SP has also substantially increased its voting percentage.
The BSP also made spectacular gains, leaving the BJP far behind with just 11 seats — down from its 1999 tally of 29 seats.
Despite aggressive campaigning by BJP leaders,including Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Pramod Mahajan, the party, fraught with dissension, could not improve its position.
While Vajpayee won in Lucknow by a margin of over 200,000 votes, several BJP leaders failed to make it. Notable among the losers were HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi. A three-time winner from Allahabad, Joshi lost to the SP's Reoti Raman Singh.
The new entrant to the party, Arif Mohammad Khan, lost Kaiderganj to the SP and with this failed the BJP's experiment of securing Muslim support by fielding a Muslim candidate in a Muslim-dominated area.
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