Wednesday, March 29, 2023

UP bypolls: SP-RLD wins Mainpuri, Khatauli; BJP wins surprise in Rampur Sadar

The Samajwadi Party retained the constituency of Mulayam Singh but lost the bastion of Azam Khan to the BJP.

In the recently held Uttar Pradesh by-elections, the results of which were announced on 8 December, the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-RLD) won two seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won one seat. Voting was held on December 5 for three seats Mainpuri (Lok Sabha) and Rampur Sadar and Khatauli (Vidhan Sabha).

While the SP-RLD lost Rampur Sadar to the BJP, where Akash Saxena won by a margin of over 30,000 votes, it won Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district from the BJP.

Mainpuri fell vacant after the death of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav on October 10. In Khatauli, BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini resigned after being found guilty by a trial court in the Muzaffarnagar riots case. After the conviction of SP MLA Azam Khan in the 2019 hate speech case on October 28, the need for a by-election in Rampur Sadar was felt.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress did not field candidates on the three seats, making the election a direct contest between the BJP and the SP-RLD.

UP Chief Minister Adityanath said in Hindi on Twitter: “Congratulations to the winning candidates of Mainpuri, Rampur and Khatauli. BJP has won Rampur seat for the first time, congratulations to Akash Saxena and all BJP workers in Rampur.

On the official SP Twitter handle, party chief Akhilesh Yadav said in Hindi: “This is the victory of the people of Mainpuri. It is the people who have paid him a true tribute Netaji [Mulayam Singh Yadav],

Rampur Sadar Result

Losing Rampur Sadar is a major setback for the SP-RLD alliance as it is considered a bastion of SP leader Azam Khan.

Since 1980, Azam Khan has never lost an election from this constituency except in 1996. He also won the Lok Sabha election from Rampur in 2019. Azam Khan, a 10-time MLA, had demonstrated his political clout by winning the 2022 assembly elections as well. While in jail, he defeated his nearest rival by about 55,000 votes.

For the 2022 bypoll, the SP candidate was Azam Khan’s aide Asim Raza Khan, who lost to BJP’s Ghanshyam Lodhi in the Lok Sabha bypoll in June this year.

Dimple Yadav won from Mainpuri

Former MP and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav defeated BJP’s Raghuraj Singh Shakya by a margin of over 3 lakh votes in Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat.

The demise of Mulayam Singh Yadav triggered a wave of sympathy votes which ensured a comfortable victory for Dimple Yadav, who had earlier won twice from the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat. When his name was announced, SP leaders were confident of his victory and also saw it as strengthening the party in the constituency.

His opponent, Raghuram Singh Shakya, was a carefully selected candidate, as the Shakyas are considered the most influential community in the constituency after the Yadavas. However, Akhilesh Yadav’s timely appointment of former MLA Alok Shakya, son of former SP MLA Ram Avtar Shakya, as the new district president of Mainpuri a few weeks before the bypolls was a strategic move.

Mainpuri, which is dominated by SP’s support base of Muslims and Yadavs, has been with SP for nearly two decades now.

Satyagraha in Khatauli

SP-RLD’s victory in Khatauli comes as an endorsement for RLD chief Jayant Chowdhary, who organized several street gatherings (street-corner meetings) to connect with voters during his high-spirited campaign.

BJP’s Rajkumari Saini, wife of two-time MLA Vikram Saini, was expected to get sympathy votes after being sentenced by a local court in a 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case. But in an unexpected result, SP-RLD candidate Madan Bhaiya defeated him by more than 20,000 votes.

Even as the counting of votes was still underway Shivpal Singh Yadav, the founder of the Progressive Samajwadi Party (Lohia) and Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle, announced that the two parties would be merged. Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, who have been at loggerheads several times in the past, finally seem to have put an end to the enmity.


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