The Samajwadi Party on Wednesday retained the Handia Assembly seat by comprehensively defeating the BSP by a margin of over 26,000 votes.
However, it was the plight of the two main national parties -- the Congress and the BJP -- that was pitiable since their candidates suffered the ignominy of losing their deposit.
While the SP candidate had polled about 81,000 votes, the main Opposition BSP, which came in second garnered around 52,000. In a marked contrast to the SP and the BSP’s power performance, the Congress and the BJP could only garner a paltry 6,000 votes.
The byelection was necessitated by the demise of sitting SP MLA Mahesh Narain Singh. Prior to this, the SP had won the Deoria bypoll following the death of state minister, Kameshwar Upadhyaya.
Rather significantly, the decision by the SP top brass to field the sons of the deceased MLAs in both the seats has apparently paid off. In Handia, the SP had fielded Prashant Kumar Singh against the BSP’s Pankaj Tripathi.
Earlier, BSP chief Mayawati while reacting to the party’s defeat in Deoria had alleged that the SP had won the election by misusing the state machinery and resorting to booth capturing.
Further,Mayawati had warned that the BSP would not contest any election in the future if the SP allegedly resorted to the same illegal practices to retain the Handia seat.
Now, though, it remains to be seen whether the BSP chief will stand her ground in the wake of the Handia fiasco. Former BSP minister, Rakeshdhar Tripathi, who was the party in-charge for the Handia bypoll, has alleged that the SP victory was the result of the wholehearted support from the district administration.
Countering this, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary claimed that his party’s handsome victory in the byelection was the outcome of the public endorsement of the plans and policies of the Akhilesh Yadav Government. “The election results also show that the two so-called national political parties are nonexistent in UP,” he said.