BJP brushes away SP-BSP gathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh
The BJP had won or led from 60 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh mid-evening, tallying only 11 fewer than its 2014 score despite coming up against the formidable alliance of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party this time.
BJP ally Apna Dal contested two seats — Mirzapur (Anupriya Patel) and Robertsganj (Pakauri Lal Kol) — and looked headed to win both amid an apparent groundswell in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Thursday’s results mark a huge triumph for the BJP after a series of by-election defeats in the state last year at the hands of a united Opposition, buttressed by its combination of Muslim, Dalit, OBC and Jat votes.
“Prime Minister Modi’s popularity and BJP chief Amit Shah’s strategy helped us win so many seats,” chief minister Yogi Adityanath told reporters. “We won because India has, under Modi, begun commanding the world’s respect. We are a strong nation internally and externally. People have accepted our welfare schemes and our idea of nationalism.”
The results would be a stinging disappointment for BSP leader Mayawati, 63, who had been hoping to become Prime Minister in a hung Parliament.
“The Samajwadis and the BSP failed to transfer their votes to each other,” a BSP leader said on the condition of anonymity before rushing off to an emergency meeting Mayawati had convened.
“We got the Muslim votes but the Yadavs, who are the Samajwadis’ core voters, didn’t support us.”
The BSP had won or led from 10 seats; while the Samajwadis had won two and led from three. The Congress led from one seat.
Uttar Pradesh reflected the national fortunes of Modi and his challenger, Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
While Rahul suffered an upset defeat to Union minister Smriti Irani in his family pocket borough Amethi, Modi won by more than 4.7 lakh votes from Varanasi, trouncing Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.
Former army chief and Union minister V.K. Singh won by more than 5 lakh votes against Samajwadi candidate Suresh Bansal from Ghaziabad.
Akhilesh won from Azamgarh, defeating BJP candidate and Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua by more than 2 lakh votes.
His father Mulayam Singh Yadav won from Mainpuri, defeating the BJP’s Prem Singh Shakya by over 70,000 votes.
Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav, however, trailed the BJP’s Subrat Pathak by about 25,000 votes in Kannauj, which she had won in 2014.
Mulayam’s nephew Dharmendra Yadav lost to the BJP’s Sanghmitra Maurya by about 30,000 votes from Badaun. Akshay Yadav, another cousin of Akhilesh who had won from Firozabad in 2014, trailed the BJP’s Chandra Sen Jadon by about 10,000 votes.
Dharmendra (Badaun) and Yogesh Verma of the BSP (Bulandshahr) created commotion near the counting halls, alleging the administration was preventing their polling agents from monitoring the counting but allowing the BJP’s to do so.
Dharmendra had an exchange with district magistrate Dinesh Kumar, whom he accused of preventing the Samajwadi polling agents from approaching the counting tables.
“While there are many BJP agents around the counting table, the administration stopped my agents from going there,” Dharmendra said.
Verma alleged the administration was trying to help the BJP’s Bhola Singh.
“I have come to know about fraud in the counting. I warn the administration to be ready to face the consequences if I succeed in collecting evidence against them,” Verma said.
Malook Nagar, BSP nominee in Bijnor against sitting BJP parliamentarian Bhartendra Singh, alleged he had been kept away from the counting tables “for some mysterious reason”.
“While the BJP candidate moved from table to table without any objections from the authorities and the security personnel, I wasn’t allowed to go to the tables even once,” Nagar complained.