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SP bags Kauriram assembly seat

A SHARP division in the BJP led to the victory of ruling Samajwadi Party candidate Ram Bhuwal Nishad in the Kauriram assembly by-election, in Gorakhpur on Monday.He defeated his nearest rival Shital Pandey of the Bharatiya Janata Party by over 10,000 votes. The remaining five candidates, including that of the Congress, forfeited their deposits. Nishad had won this seat in the 2002 assembly election on a BSP ticket. However, his election was later challenged and the Supreme Court had disqualified him.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 00:15 IST

A SHARP division in the BJP led to the victory of ruling Samajwadi Party candidate Ram Bhuwal Nishad in the Kauriram assembly by-election, in Gorakhpur on Monday.

He defeated his nearest rival Shital Pandey of the Bharatiya Janata Party by over 10,000 votes. The remaining five candidates, including that of the Congress, forfeited their deposits.

Nishad had won this seat in the 2002 assembly election on a BSP ticket.

However, his election was later challenged and the Supreme Court had disqualified him.

When Nishad succeeded in retaining the seat on the SP ticket, BJP candidate Shital Pandey, supported by Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, lost the election because of the presence of BJP rebel Upendra Shukla in the fray. While Pandey lost by 10,629 votes, Shukla made a massive dent into the BJP and garnered 17,635 votes. Nishad got 40 per cent of the votes, Pandey and Shukla got 32 per cent and 13.5 percent respectively. Both, put together, far exceeded the SP’s percentage.

While the SP basked in the glory of victory, it was a major setback for the sharply divided BJP in Gorakhpur. The BSP had not fielded a candidate. The Congress was relegated to fifth position with four percent votes. Even an independent Dr Sanjaynan Tripathi performed better than the Congress, as he got eight per cent of the votes.

District officials said Nishad secured 52,667 of the total votes polled on March 25. About 1.30 lakh voters exercised their franchise.

Shital Pandey was supported by the Gorakhnath temple and Yogi Adityanath. Pandey polled 41,638 votes. Congress candidate Shivshambhu Nishad secured 6,115 votes and Purvanchal Kranti Parishad candidate Dr Sanjayan Tripathi 10,500 votes.

Counting began at Mahewa Mandi under tight security on Monday. Fourteen tables were set up. A huge rush was witnessed outside the counting centre. Supporters shouted slogans in support of their candidate. Ram Bhuwal Nishad managed to maintain his lead from the outset.

Slogans and counter-slogans, along with an incident of minor scuffle between supporters, kept districts officials on their toes.

Soon after the result was declared, Ram Bhuwal Nishad’s supporters took out a victory procession.

In the 2002 election, BSP’s Ram Bhuwal Nishad had defeated the SP candidate Ambika Singh by a narrow margin.

However, before being unseated by the court, he defected to the SP. The BJP had initially decided to field Upendra Shukla, but at the last moment, under the pressure of Yogi, nominated Pandey. Thus, Shukla who joined the poll battle as an Independent, was supported by former minister Shiv Pratap Shukla, an archrival of Yogi.

Adityanath was said to be instrumental in the defeat of Shiv Pratap Shukla in the last assembly election. Yogi-supported Hindu Mahasabha candidate Dr Radha Mohan Agarwal had won from Gorakhpur. Now, in the by-election, Shukla settled scores with Yogi..

For the SP, the victory was a consolation after two successive defeats in Aurai and Nagal assembly by-elections. State party president Ramsaran Das said people had once again reposed faith in the leadership of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. He said the BSP avoided to contest the election to directly help the BJP, but the people saw through the gameplan.

First Published: Mar 28, 2006 00:15 IST