UP bypoll counting: BJP leading in Gorakhpur, Phulpur

Sanjay Nishad in Gorakhpur

Sanjay Nishad in Gorakhpur

Gorakhpur district magistrate Rajeev Rautela, who is also the returning officer, announced that after the third round of counting, Nishad polled 44,979 votes against 43,457 votes polled by Shukla. The Bhabua seat is witnessing a straight contest between BJP's Rinki Pandey and Congress' Shambhu Singh Patel.

Gorakhpur has been a BJP seat for almost three decades but the SP and BJP joined hands this time hoping to spring a surprise.

Termed by Adityanath a "rehearsal" for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the bypolls saw a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the SP and the Congress.

The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively, following their election to the state legislative council.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is facing a serious challenge on his home turf Gorakhpur.

The announcement by the Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to support Samajwadi Party's candidate has made these bypolls very interesting as the results of these polls will decide on future alliance of the arch-rivals.

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In the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, Samajwadi Party's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel is leading by 12,231 votes with 99,557 votes, and BJP's Kaushlendra Singh Patel follows second with 87,326 votes.

Attacking the BSP and the SP, the chief minister claimed, "These parties are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism".

The only Lok Sabha seat that is seeing counting today in the state, Arariya, has seen the lead flip flop several time.

However, as of now, only the initial rounds of counting has been completed, and these are heavily influenced by postal votes.

In Gorakhpur, the lowest voter turnout of 33 percent was in Gorakhpur city, and the highest 47 percent in Sahjanwa and Campierganj. BJP had got about 16,000 votes and SP has about 14,000 votes.

On the other hand, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav had said it (polling day) was a day to "change and re-write history". The independent jailed candidate, Ateeq Ahmad, has garnered 15,855 votes till now.

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