New Delhi: Cheer and smiles made a comeback to the Samajwadi Party camp after it ensured Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies were snatched from BJP in bye-elections to the two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
After leading in the early rounds of counting, the BJP slipped behind the SP in UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's stronghold of Gorakhpur. The BJP has also trailed through most of the counting in Phulpur. Both constituencies have been prestige battles for BJP but saw low voter turnout last Sunday. While Gorakhpur saw 47.45 per cent voting, Phulpur fared even worse at 37.39 per cent.
SP workers celebrate in Lucknow as trends show their candidates leading in Gorakhpur & Phulpur Lok Sabha by-polls, raise, 'Bhua-Bhateeja zindabad' slogans. pic.twitter.com/BTjievOjTL
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 14, 2018
A win for SP though is a massive shot in the arm, especially as the party had resorted to partnering with arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party to tackle BJP - the bigger of the two enemies for former state CM Akhilesh Yadav, according to political analysts. Little wonder then that early celebrations injected life into the SP cadre - demoralised after being routed in the state elections, and infuriated BJP.
Here's a quick look at who said what as trends began showing a win for SP.
Great victory. Congratulations to Mayawati Ji and Akhilesh Yadav Ji for UP bypolls. The beginning of the end has started.
--Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM
I do not think the SP-BSP alliance worked. I believe the day you (BJP) threw a red carpet for he who criticises Lord Ram the most, you made even Lord Ram turn against you.
-- Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut on former SP leader Naresh Agarwal joining BJP
People have spoken against the anti-farmer, anti-youth & anti-women policies of the govt, it is very clear that BJP is being shown the door by the people.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Congress leader
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and today it seems UP-Bihar joining the same trend. Amit Shah's main concern today would be why can't he manage EVM in by polls. Only option left to BJP now is rigging in counting.
Sanjay Nirupam, President, Mumbai Congress Committee
We didn't expect that BSP's vote will be transferred to SP in such a manner. We will analyze after seeing the final results & prepare for a situation in future when BSP, SP & Congress can come together & also make our strategy for winning 2019 elections.
Keshav Maurya, BJP leader and Deputy CM of UP