Lucknow: Samajwadi Party candidate Pravin Kumar Nishad was on Wednesday elected to the Lok Sabha from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, defeating the BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla by 21,881 votes, officials said.
Routing the BJP in what was seen as a prestige fight, the Samajwadi Party candidate Nagendra Singh Patel was on Wednesday elected to the Lok Sabha from the Phulpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, defeating his nearest BJP opponent by 59,613 votes, an Election Commission official said.
In a dramatic turn of events since the 2014 general election, the Samajwadi Party on Wednesday had surged ahead of the BJP in the two Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh that had been vacated by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasa Maurya.
The setback comes as a huge shocker to the year-old BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, where Adityanath, who has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha seat for five consecutive times, vacated it after becoming the chief minister.
Similarly, Phulpur MP Maurya resigned from the Lok Sabha after he was named the deputy chief minister in the government.
Both the Lok Sabha constituencies voted on Sunday.
"This is a rejection of both (prime minister Narendra Modi) and Yogi (Adityanath)," Samajwadi Party spokesman Anurag Bhaudauria told IANS.
"They have been making tall promises but not delivering on the ground," he said, explaining why the voters appeared to have turned against the BJP so dramatically in these two seats since the 2014 Lok Sabha battle.
Samajwadi Party leaders admitted that the Bahujan Samaj Party's decision to back the main opposition party so as not to split the opposition vote played a critical role in the outcome.
In 2014, the BJP stunningly won 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats while one of its allies secured two. The Samajwadi Party won from five seats. The Congress and the BSP drew a blank.
The Samajwadi Party took early lead right from the beginning of the vote count that began on Wednesday morning and steadily built up the gap with its BJP rivals as officials counted the tens of thousands of votes.
Gorakhpur district magistrate Rajeev Rautela earlier sparked a storm by barring journalists from entering the counting centre and did not announce details of counting after the first two rounds.
As it became clear that the BJP was headed for a twin rout, overjoyed Samajwadi Party activists and leaders took to the streets in Phulpur and Gorakhpur to celebrate. Sweets were distributed while party workers threw Holi colours on one another.