SP leads, BJP set for shock defeat in UP Lok Sabha by

Sanjay Nishad in Gorakhpur

Sanjay Nishad in Gorakhpur

Meanwhile in Araria Lok Sabha by-election in Bihar, BJP's Pradip Singh is leading with 1,13,169 votes, followed by Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) Sarafaraz Alam with 1,04,190.

For Gorakhpur, the key contenders are Upendra Shukla from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Praveen Nishad from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Surhita Chatterjee Karim from the Congress Party.

While the Uttar Pradesh constituencies fell vacant after Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath became UP Chief Minister and Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya became deputy chief minister, all 3 Bihar seats fell vacant due to the death of their respective representatives. The bypoll in Gorakhpur was necessitated after Adityanath vacated the seat to enter the state Legislative Council.

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In neighbouring Bihar, the turnout was slightly better - 57% in Araria Lok Sabha constituency and 50.6% and 54.6% respectively in Jehanabad and Bhabhua Assembly constituencies.

Ten nominees are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates contested from Phulpur.

In a determined bid to avoid a split in the opposition vote, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) campaigned actively for the Samajwadi Party, otherwise its bitter foe. This is the first time in Gorakhpur when the Samajwadi party is leading. Bye-elections were held in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Araria Lok Sabha seats, and Jehanabad and Bhabua Assembly seats on Sunday. In the last state elections, as well as in the last Lok Sabha elections, both the SP and the BSP got a drubbing from the BJP.

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The BSP has extended its support to the SP candidates in both the seats whereas there are reports of tacit understanding of the Congress with the SP. A total of 14 tables are provided for counting of votes and will be done through 34 rounds.

With Phulpur polling 37.39 per cent and Gorakhpur 47 per cent gives enough prediction that the result could be a tight one and victory margin could be less than a lakh.

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