It’s a political and moral defeat for BJP in Ghosi, says SP

BJP says the negative result is more due to local factors and should not be considered as a referendum on the State government

Updated - September 26, 2023 12:09 pm IST

Published - September 08, 2023 09:29 pm IST - Lucknow:

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. File

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. File | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

In a setback for the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Sudhakar Singh on Friday registered a resounding victory in the Ghosi bypoll by 42,759 votes against the saffron party’s Dara Singh Chauhan. Mr. Singh polled 1,24,427 votes against the BJP nominee who polled 81,668 votes.

The high-stake bypoll, held on September 5, due to Mr. Chauhan resigning as the SP MLA and the first electoral contest in India’s politically most crucial State after the formation of the opposition Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), a Rajbhar OBC-centric party, joining hands with the BJP, gave multiple messages to both the alliances going into the 2024 parliamentary polls. The SP termed the result not only a political defeat of the BJP, but also a moral defeat and indicator of the 2024 Lok Sabha verdict, while the BJP said the negative result is more due to local factors and should not be considered a referendum on the State government. “This is not only a political defeat of the BJP, it is also a moral defeat. The victory of the SP and INDIA alliance candidate not only broken the pride of the BJP but also given indications about the result of the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This is the beginning of the BJP’s end,” said SP president Akhilesh Yadav.

Mr. Yadav said Uttar Pradesh would once again be the flag bearer of change in India’s politics. “Uttar Pradesh will once again be the leader of the change in the country,” he added.

The BJP said it would introspect the loopholes and try to rectify the same. “We will talk to our workers and introspect factors leading to the defeat,” said Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak. Speaking with The Hindu, BJP leaders added the SP was reading out of proportion from one Assembly bypoll. “It can’t be considered a referendum on the State government, the bypoll was for one seat, that was already with the SP, they retained it. Multiple factors lead to any victory or defeat. In Ghosi, I believe local factors dominated,” said Rakesh Tripathi, State BJP spokesperson.

Came as a shock

The Ghosi bypoll result would also have a bearing for regional heavyweights such as SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar and SP general secretary Shivpal Singh Yadav, who campaigned extensively for their candidates. “In this, there is one MLA who won, but the losers are future minister of many parties,” said Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, in an indirect reference to Mr. Rajbhar, who switched sides months ago. For the SBSP chief, who claims of enjoying support among the Rajbhar caste and in the region, the margin of defeat came as a shock as it signals that the Rajbhars, sizeable in Ghosi, not voted one-sided. The Ghosi bypoll also hints at local anti-incumbency, with Mr. Chauhan polling roughly 27,000 less votes compared to what he polled in the 2022 Assembly election, with the margin of defeat for the BJP candidate becoming highest in the history of Assembly polls till date in Ghosi, a dusty town in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary asked if the Opposition would still raise the question mark over Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Election Commission and government machinery in view of the Ghosi outcome.

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