Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday termed his party’s ‘historic win’ in the Mainpuri bypoll as a true tribute to SP founder and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and asserted that the results have energised partymen for the 2024 parliamentary elections.
Interacting with mediapersons after the results were announced, the SP president said he was happy to declare that “respected uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav and his party (PSPL) have come together with the SP and now, all will work together under one flag.”
Shivpal Yadav, who had floated his own party after his relationship with nephew Akhilesh Yadav turned sour, campaigned vigorously in the bypoll in favour of Dimple Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav’s assembly seat Jaswantnagar is part of the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat.
Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav won the Mainpuri parliamentary seat, defeating her nearest rival BJP candidate Raghuraj Singh Shakya by margin of over 2,88,461 votes.
She thanked all party workers and dedicated the win to ‘Netaji’.
The bypoll on the seat was necessitated following Mulayam Singh Yadav’s death.
“The victory has opened a new path and given energy to the leaders and workers of the Samajwadi Party and the people for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“People have assured the workers for 2024 through this result and given a reply to those who are increasing inflation and unemployment, whose government is continuously conspiring against the poor and exploiting victims on a large scale,” he said.
The SP chief said the future strategy of the party would focus on how to resolve problems related to inflation, corruption, unemployment and issues faced by the farmers.
Terming the victory of his party as the win of political rapprochement, Akhlesh Yadav said it is also a reply to those who have been indulging in politics of negativity.
People of Mainpuri have realised the dreams of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and also shown that success can be achieved by working on ideologies, he said.
Stressing that the administration harassed his party workers and leaders in the run up to bypoll, Akhilesh said, “Police carried out a raid at the residence of the Jaswantnagar block chief. I will thank Jaswantnagar MLA Shivpal Singh Yadav who reached there. I am happy that Jaswantnagar has broken its own record in this bypoll by voting in favour of SP,” he said.
Yadav congratulated Madan Bhaiya of the RLD, an alliance partner of the SP, for winning the Khatauli Assembly segment bypoll.
He, however, claimed that people in the Rampur Sadar assembly segment were not allowed to vote.
Had there been a fair election in Rampur, it would have been the biggest win for the Samajwadi Party, Yadav claimed.
The BJP won the Rampur Sadar assembly seat for the first time as its candidate Akash Saxena defeated his nearest Samajwadi Party rival Asim Raja by a margin of 33,702 votes in a bypoll.
“The administration in Rampur first did not allow voting and then did injustice. Even after this, people came out and voted. From the very first day, people had decided to stand firmly with Azam Khan and the people did that.
“Had fair elections been held in Rampur and the administration not used force, it would have been the biggest victory so far,” he claimed.
On Mainpuri, he said, “Though the administration worked on the government’s signal, the people here did not listen to it and voted for the SP. I thank partymen and leaders for this historic win.”
BJP wrests Kurhani from ‘Mahagathbandhan’
The ruling ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar received a setback on Thursday when it lost the Kurhani assembly seat to the BJP, a party Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke up with barely four months ago.
Kumar’s JD(U) blamed on “local factors” for the defeat of its candidate Manoj Singh Kushwaha, who polled just 3,645 votes less than Kedar Prasad Gupta of the BJP.
The by-election was necessitated by the disqualification of Anil Kumar Sahani of RJD, which helms the multi-party ruling coalition and had supported the JD(U) this time. Both Kushwaha and Gupta had won the seat in the past for their respective parties.
The BJP has been down in the dumps in the state since it got stripped of power and lost out Kumar, its largest ally nationally, to the “Mahgathbandhan” in August following accusations of attempts to split the JD(U).
The saffron party, which is the second largest in terms of numerical strength in the assembly, was predictably chuffed at the win which raises its tally to 78, just one less than that of the RJD.
“It is a massive victory”, insisted Nikhil Anand, a journalist-turned-politician who is also a spokesman of the state BJP, claiming that “the JD(U) had fielded not one but two dummy candidates to buttress its own position. But it proved to be of no avail”.
According to Anand, the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) of former minister Mukesh Sahani, formerly a BJP protégé, and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM which is often charged with being the saffron party’s “B team” were in the by-poll “trying to ensure the victory of the JD(U) candidate”.
“The VIP was expected to cut into votes of Nishad community” to which its founding president belongs and which has a sizeable population in Muzaffarpur district under which Kurhani falls. But the BJP has been fielding Ajay Nishad from Muzaffarpur Lok Sabha seat and winning for the last couple of terms and “our support base remained intact”, claimed the saffron party leader.
“VIP’s strategy of fielding a Bhumihar was another ploy to make dent in the BJP’s core support base. Besides, the AIMIM’s Mohd Ghulam Murtaza is an old aide of Manoj Singh Kushwaha, handpicked by the party to help the chief minister’s outfit”, the BJP leader told PTI.
Notably, in the cliffhanger of a contest which saw candidates of BJP and JD(U) remaining neck and neck until the final three rounds, the VIP candidate, besides two Independents, Shekhar Sahani and Sanjay Kumar, polled a number of votes that was higher than the margin of victory.
Interestingly, even the number of those opting for NOTA (4,446) was greater than the victory margin while the AIMIM polled a slightly lower number of 3,202 votes.
It was essentially a straight contest between the two main contenders, though as they together got nearly 1.49 lakh of the total number of 1.75 lakh votes.
VIP candidate Neelabh Kumar finished a distant third and ended up losing his deposit.
Meanwhile, JD(U) leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, reckoned among the few ministers in the cabinet whose advice Chief Minister Nitish Kumar takes seriously, called the poll outcome “unexpected” (apratyashit).
“At the outset, it seems local factors trumped the achievements of the government in the by-election. During campaign, we got the feeler that all were full of praise for the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The acceptability of the Mahagathbandhan was also evident in all sections of the society”, Chaudhary said in a statement.
“At some places, we did come across some resentment because of issues of panchayat level. We thought that the people will rise above local concerns and vote for the JD(U) in the interests of the state,” he added.
The JD(U) leader, whose party supremo has embarked upon forging “opposition unity” to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, refrained from commenting on the saffron camp’s massive victory in Gujarat but maintained that “the BJP’s defeat in Himachal Pradesh is a bad sign. Assembly polls there had been fought with the prime minister as the party face”.
Meanwhile, the CPI(ML)-Liberation, which is a part of the “Mahagathbandhan” but supports the government from outside, had a word of caution.
“Mahagathbandhan must keep hubris at bay. It is pitted against the BJP which is adept at deep-rooted conspiracies. By-poll outcome also shows a division in anti-BJP votes. This is not to be taken lightly”, the CPI(ML)-L’s state secretary Kunal said in a statement.