LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party (SP) might have not succeeded in sending Yogi Adityanath back to his ‘Muth’ in Gorakhpur, but the party, led by Akhilesh Yadav, put up an exemplary performance in at least five districts making a clean sweep over 28 seats spread across four eastern UP and one western UP district.
The eastern UP districts where SP scored cent per cent seats comprised of Ambedkarnagar with five constituencies, Kaushambi with three, Ghazipur with seven, Azamgarh with 10, and Shamli with three seats in the west. On the other, BJP made a clean sweep in 23 districts across UP.
While better coordination between the candidate and the party organization led the Samajwadi Party to fare well in five districts, the BJP organization was found missing in these districts costing the party heavily. In 2017, the BJP had won 13 of 28 seats across these five districts and this time it had drawn a blank.
In Azamgarh, considered to be the turf of Akhilesh Yadav with the dominance of Muslim and Yadav combination, BJP had won one seat of Phulpur Pawai of the 10 in 2017. The BSP had won four seats in previous elections. This time, SP won all the 10 seats despite the pronounced anti-incumbency not only against the SP MLAs but also against Akhilesh Yadav who represents Azamgarh in Lok Sabha.
In Ambedkarnagar, where BJP had bagged two seats and BSP three of the five segments in previous 2017 polls, SP won all five. SP’s success in Ambedkarnagar can be attributed to the BSP bigwigs like Lalji Verma from Katehari, Ram Achal Rajbhar from Akbarpur, and Rajesh Pandey from Jalapur, who defected to SP last year and romped home with high fly colours as SP candidates in this election.
Kaushambi, which is considered to be the home turf of BJP prominent OBC face and deputy CM Keshav Maurya, was lost in the overconfidence of the candidates despite humungous rallies of PM Modi and Amit Shah. All the three seats – Sirathu, Manjhanpur (SC) and Chail-- which the BJP had won in 2017, slipped of its hands with the biggest jolt coming in the form of the defeat of Keshav Prasad Maurya in Sirathu. Pallavi Patel of Apna Dal (Kamerawadi), who had reluctantly contested on SP symbol trounced Maurya with a margin of over 7,000 votes. SP had put the battery of its senior leaders including chief Akhilesh Yadav himself, his wife Dimple Yadav and RS MP Jaya Bachchan to seek votes for Patel. The other two seats were also won by the SP.
Ghazipur in the far east is considered to be the turf of OP Rajbhar of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) with respectable chunks of Rajbhars in the population. While the BJP had won five of the seven Ghazipur seats in alliance with Rajbhar 2017, this time, it lost all as Rajbhar had joined the SP camp benefitting it with the caste arithmetic.
Similarly, Shamli in the west came as a jolt to the ruling party as its high profile cane minister Suresh Rana lost his Thanabhawan. The impact of farmers’ protest coupled with anti-incumbency against the sitting MLAs cost dearly to the BJP. In 2017, the party had won two --- Thanabhawan, Shamli -- of the three seats, However, SP’s Nahid Hassan, accused of forcing Hindus to migrate, had emerged victorious from Kairana. This time also, despite Amit Shah commencing his campaign from Kairana, BJP failed to move the voters as the constituency has over 33 per cent Muslims who consolidate in favour of SP.