The Samajwadi Party today strengthened its grip over Uttar Pradesh with its candidate Pravin Nishad winning the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypolls, defeating BJP’s Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,881 votes.
The SP's electoral understanding with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and tie-up with local satraps (NISHAD Party and Peace Party) paid dividends, prompting the BJP to speak of re-drawing its electoral strategy ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
According to the returning officer, Praveen Nishad polled 4,56,513 votes, while BJP's Upendra Shukla bagged 4,34,632 votes. Sureetha Kareem of the Congress was a distant third with 18,858 votes.
The bypolls in Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's bastion, was necessitated after he vacated the seat following his election to the UP legislative council.
Senior minister and UP government spokesperson Sidharthnath Singh said his party would have to re-draw its electoral strategy following the new understanding between the SP and the BSP.
"We still have a year to go for the Lok Sabha polls. We can definitely review our strategy in the light of new political developments," he said.
Reacting to his son's victory, president of NISHAD party, Sanjay Nishad, said, it was neither the defeat of Yogi Adityanath nor the defeat of Gorakhnath Mutt.
"We all respect the Gorakhnath Mutt. I think people have voted against policies like demonetization and GST. It is the defeat of policies of Modi government and victory of SP policies and work done by Akhilesh Yadav," he said.
The win of two SP candidates in the two bypolls takes the SP's tally in Lok Sabha to seven.
Gorakhpur has long been considered a BJP stronghold with Adityanath representing the seat in the Lok Sabha five times. Before him, his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath was MP from the seat.