Vote count starts in Gorakhpur, Phulpur; Trends expected shortly

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In Bihar, with the opposition RJD-Congress alliance defeating the ruling BJP-JD (U) alliance in two out of three seats, the result is being seen as pointing out the general mood in the state, since this is the first electoral battle in the state after chief minister Nitish Kumar, JD (U) chief, walked out of the alliance with the RJD and the Congress and joined the BJP-led NDA past year.

From Phulpur, SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel defeated BJP's Kaushlendra Patel by a margin of 59,613 votes.

Phulpur seat was vacated by Keshav Prasad Maurya after he took over as Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister in September previous year.

In Gorakhpur, the urban assembly segment, which includes the Gorakhnath Mutt of which chief minister Yogi Adityanath is the head priest, recorded the lowest turnout of 37.76 per cent among all the five that make up the Lok Sabha constituency. For the opposition parties, of course, the challenge remains daunting as will have to bury their multiple differences even as the BJP will leave no stone unturned in bringing back its focus on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which together send 120 members to the Lok Sabha.

Meanwhile, in the Gorakhpur by-poll, SP candidate Pravin Nishad is firmly in the driving seat with a lead of 22,954 votes, according to latest trends. The SP and BSP had formed a coalition government in the state in 1993 when the BJP, despite emerging as the single largest party following the demolition of the Babri mosque, failed to get a majority. Political columnist Chandrabhan Prasad said an SP-BSP alliance makes good electoral sense but it is hard to say whether it will fructify.

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In 2014, BJP had won both the seats with over 3 lakh vote margin.

"Congratulations to the winning candidates in today's sub-election". Instead, she suggested it was a deal between the two parties, with the Samajwadi Party supporting her candidates in the Rajya Sabha while she would lend her support to its leaders for the bye-polls. "The results are an indication to what is in store for BJP in 2019", he said. The bypoll on the parliamentary seat was necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MP Dileep Singh Bhuria. Keshav Prasad Maurya said the SP's victory was the result of BSP's ability to transfer its votes to the former.

When asked about the reason behind the BJP's defeat, Adityanath said, "When the elections were announced then SP, BSP and Congress fielded separate candidates". The Congress's Kantilal Bhuria won the seat against Dileep Singh Bhuria's daughter Nirmala. The results in both states triggered calls for a Grand Alliance - a la Bihar - all across India to take on the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls. The alliance was formed with the explicit aim of stalling the BJP's electoral juggernaut.

"People are now waiting for the 2019 general elections to teach the BJP a lesson", he said.

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