NEW DELHI: The body blow to the BJP in two prime Lok Sabha constituencies of Gorakhpur which is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s backyard and Phulpur which was Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s stronghold and one in Araria in Bihar, showed that the saffron party was not invincible, and that a united Opposition could effectively take on the party in the 2019 national polls.
“The illusion that the BJP is invincible in UP has been busted. The Gorakhpur seat has been lost in the CM’s home turf. It is significant,” CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, whose party had supported the SP in the two UP bypolls, said.
Rejoicing the defeat of BJP, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “The beginning of the end has started.” “This is the federal forces coming together formally and informally to be pro-people and anti-BJP,” said TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien.
In 2017 UP Assembly polls, the SP and BSP had fought separately leading to a massive win (312 out 403 seats) for the BJP. The same had happened in the 2014 national polls when the BJP won a historic 282 of 543 Lok Sabha seats.
Noting that bypolls were different from regular polls, political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay too agreed the Wednesday results were a clear signal to the Opposition to unite in UP, which sends the highest number of 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. “In Bihar, the serious worry for the BJP is that their alliance is not working. Lalu has remained and garners huge sympathy strong despite his conviction,” he said.
CPI’s D Raja felt the bypoll results will bring together like-minded parties. “It shows discontent and disillusionment against BJP. This will have a impact on the thinking of secular democratic parties at state and national level, keeping in view the objective of defeating BJP,” he said.
Though Congress was a marginal player in the bypolls, party chief Rahul Gandhi said the results showed that voters were angry with the BJP. The Congress, he said, was eager for a new beginning in UP but it will not happen overnight, hinting that any kind of a united opposition to take on PM Modi would be impossible without Congress.
“The result is proof that parties can consolidate Dalit, OBC and Muslim votes against the BJP by joining hands. It also shows us how the BJP has paid a price for its overconfidence,” Badri Narayan, professor at the School of Social Sciences at JNU.