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Yogi Adityanath represented Uttar Pradesh parliament seat of Gorakhpur for two decades but vacating it last year to take over as Chief Minister has costed him a great loss. Gorakhpur has chosen the Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party this time in the bypoll elections. The Samajwadi Party, backed in a rare arrangement by Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, is also set to win the by-election in Phulpur, the seat vacated by Yogi Adityanath’s deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya. The results deliver a body blow to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who took upon himself the task of asserting the party’s hold in the state it swept in assembly elections last year, fronting the by-election campaign and seeking no reinforcements from the party leadership.
The Samajwadi Party handed BJP a crushing defeat in two crucial bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, forcing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to admit that the saffron party’s performance was a lesson for them. While SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel registered a resounding win over BJP’s Kaushlendra Singh Patel by a margin of 59,613 votes in Phulpur, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP thumped BJP by a margin of 21,000 vote in Yogi Adityanath’s bastion of Gorakhpur. SP candidate Praveen Nishad defeated BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,000 votes to win Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat.
BJP called Gorakhpur it’s safest seat counting on Yogi Adityanath’s complete hold on it. The 45-year-old was the Gorakhpur lawmaker since 1998 for five terms till he resigned after being picked to be chief minister. Before Yogi Adityanath, his mentor Mahant Avedyanath was the Gorakhpur MP for three terms starting 1989. Yogi Adityanath also succeeded Mahant Avedyanath as the powerful head priest of the Gorakhpur Matt.
The UP defeat means that the BJP holding seats to the Lok Sabha will now dip to 272 – exactly the number needed for a majority. The party had won 282 seats, signaling often that it was well over the halfway mark on its own and didn’t really need its allies. Its partners have complained of being given little importance by the BJP in their national alliance NDA and, ahead of the 2019 elections, can now flex some muscle.