The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam gobbles lion’s share

Lucknow, Dec. 3: After dealing a body blow to predecessor Mayavati by wresting two Assembly seats from her Bahujan Samaj Party in the byelections, Mulayam Singh Yadav today gave a severe drubbing to the BJP.

The Samajwadi Party wrested 27 of the 36 legislative council seats for which elections were held on Monday.

The BJP managed to win only two seats against the 24 held by the party and its allies in the previous council.

The Samajwadi and its allies have won 32 of the 36 seats. The tally includes three seats won by Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal and two by Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP).

The Congress could win only one seat while one went to an Independent — who had contested as a Samajwadi rebel despite Mulayam Singh’s plea for withdrawal of his candidature and ensured the RKP’s defeat in Aligarh.

The BJP attributed its defeat to the blatant misuse of government machinery by the ruling party and claimed that this did not indicate dwindling of its support base in Uttar Pradesh.

“In these elections, the government of the day wins the maximum seats. We had been alleging that the official machinery was being misused on a large scale to ensure victory for Samajwadi nominees and the results have proved us true,” state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar said.

Village pradhans and members of the elected urban local bodies form the electoral college for the legislative council. With today’s massive tally favouring the Samajwadi, the party has assumed numerical superiority in both the Houses of the Assembly.

Celebrating victory, Mulayam Singh said it indicated a change in the mood of the people of Uttar Pradesh. “They have finally decided to discard the forces which sought to divide the society in the name of caste and religion,” the chief minister added.

What satisfied the Samajwadi chief most, however, was his party’s victory in the two Assembly byelections. While Mayavati herself had won from the Harora seat, her party also held the second seat in Mahasi.

The Harora constituency had elected Mayavati twice in the past with comfortable margins. She had secured 49.57 per cent and 47.76 per cent votes in the 1996 and 2002 Assembly elections, respectively.

The stunning defeat of the BSP here indicates polarisation of anti-Mayavati sentiments in the Samajwadi camp. The BJP candidate in Harora even lost his security deposit.

The bypoll in Mahasi was held after the death of BSP MLA Ali Bahadur.

The defeat in this constituency also came as a blow to the party even though it had put up Bahadur’s wife Jamila Khatoon to cash in on the sympathy factor.

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