The Samajwadi Party turned out to be a major gainer in UP Assembly bypolls, wresting a seat each from the ruling BJP and the BSP, while the NDA got eight, one less than it held, as final results were declared on Thursday for the 11 seats that went to polls this week.
The Samajwadi Party retained its Rampur assembly seat, which fell vacant after Azam Khan successfully fought the Lok Sabha polls with his wife emerging victorious by a margin of over 7,000 votes. Khan's wife and SP candidate Tazeen Fatma won by defeating her nearest rival BJP candidate Bharat Bhushan. While Tazeen secured 79,043 votes, Bhushan got 71,327 votes. Congress candidate Arshad Ali Khan got 4,182 votes while BSP's Zubair Masood Khan secured 3,441 votes. In Gangoh, the BJP retained the seat with its candidate Kirat Singh defeating his nearest rival Congress candidate Nooman Masud. While the BJP candidate secured 68,300 votes, Masud got 62,881 votes. Samajwadi Party candidate Inder Sain got 57,374 votes while BSP candidate Mohd Irshad got 32,276 votes.
Just over 47 per cent of eligible voters exercised their franchise in the bypolls to 11 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. Polling began at 7 am amid tight security, officials said, adding that 47.05 per cent of electors exercised their franchise. Gangoh in Saharanpur district saw the highest turnout with about 60.30 per cent voters exercising their franchise. In Lucknow Cantonment, only 28.53 per cent of eligible electors cast their vote. Polling was by and large peaceful in the state and there were no report of any untoward incident, they said.
According to the office of the UP Chief Electoral Officer, among the other constituencies, Jalalpur witnessed 58.80 per cent polling followed by Zaidpur (58), Manikpur (52.10), Balha (52), Ghosi (51), Rampur (44), Pratapgarh (44), Iglas (36.20) and Govindnagar (32.60).
A significant dip was witnessed in polling in a majority of constituencies in comparison with the 2017 Assembly elections. The polling percentage in 2017 stood at 71.92 per cent in Gangoh followed by Zaidpur (69.71), Iglas (64.88), Jalalpur (62.55), Manikpur (59.44), Ghosi (58.67), Balha (57.83), Rampur (56.16), Pratapgarh (55.56), Govindnagar (52.48) and Lucknow Cantonment (50.77).
Polling was held up for a couple of hours after an electronic voting machine (EVM) developed a snag at booth number 350 in Salhipur, a report from Pratapgarh said. District Information Officer Vijay Kumar said the EVM was replaced and the voting had started. Of the 11 seats, eight were earlier held by the BJP and one by its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal).
The seats of Rampur and Jalalpur (Ambedkarnagar) were held by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively. The BJP, the BSP, the SP and the Congress have fielded their candidates on all seats. According to the office of the UP Chief Electoral Officer, 109 candidates were in the fray for the bypolls.
The byelections were necessitated after some of the sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha and resigned as members of the state Assembly. The Ghosi assembly seat fell vacant following the resignation of sitting MLA Phagu Chauhan after he was appointed as the Governor of Bihar.
The maximum candidates--13 each- contested from Lucknow Cantonment and Jalalpur assembly constituencies followed by 11 each in Ghosi, Gangoh, Pratapgarh and Balha. Nine candidates each are in the fray from Govindnagar and Manikpur. Seven each contested from the Rampur, Iglas and Zaidpur assembly segments.
The saffron party is hoping to increase its tally in the legislative assembly by registering a win in Rampur and Jalalpur, previously held by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively. On the other hand, the opposition parties are expecting to taste victory after the Lok Sabha debacle this year.
The Congress, in particular, hopes to show signs of revival in UP after the Lok Sabha polls, in which it could win only from Rae Bareli. In contrast, the BJP had won 62 of the 80 parliamentary seats in the state. The BSP-SP alliance could bag only 15 seats, resulting in the snapping of ties. In the 2017 Assembly polls, the SP had a tie-up with the Congress.
State BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu exuded confidence that their parties would emerge victorious in the bypolls. While Singh claimed that the bypolls would be a “one- sided” affair for the BJP, Lallu said there were “indications of good results for their party”.
In the UP legislative assembly, the BJP currently has 302 members followed by the SP (47) and the BSP (18). The BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has eight legislators, while the Congress has seven MLAs in the House.