Byelection results in U.P., Bihar reflect voter fatigue towards NDA

Published : October 25, 2019 12:29 IST

The results of the October 2019 Assembly byelections from the Hindi heartland States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar underscored voter fatigue with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as a factor in varying degrees in different parts of the country. For the NDA, the defeats were seen as a big setback to the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar and slightly less so in Uttar Pradesh.

Byelections were held in five Assembly seats in Bihar and the BJP-JD(U) alliance lost four of them. The principal opposition, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), won two of these four seats, while the the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) registered its maiden victory in an Assembly election in the State by winning in Kishanganj, a traditionally Congress seat. The party’s Qamrul Hoda defeated the BJP’s Sweety Singh by over 10,000 votes. The RJD’s Zafar Alam and Ramdeo Yadav won from Simri Bakhtiarpur and Belhar respectively.

The consolation for the NDA came from the JD(U)’s Lakshmikant Mandal, who won the Nathnagar seat by over 5,000 votes against the RJD’s Rabiya Khatun, and the Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) Prince Raj, who registered a comprehensive victory in the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat in Bihar defeating Ashok Kumar of the Congress by over one lakh votes. The Rebel BJP leader Karnjeet Singh, who refused to back out in favour of the JD(U) candidate in Daraundha in Siwan district, romped home with a majority of over 27,000 votes.

Thus the BJP and its allies could win only one of the five seats in this round of byelections.. However, the score was better in Uttar Pradesh, though here too the BJP lost two of the seats it held. Of the 11 Assembly seats where elections were held, the saffron party managed to retain eight seats, while the Samajwadi Party (S.P.) won the other three. The byelection in Rampur was because the constituency’s long-standing MLA of the S.P., Azam Khan, was elected to the Lok Sabha in May. His wife, Tazeen Fatma, retained the seat for the S.P. The two other winners for the S.P. were Gaurav Kumar from Zaidpur and Subhash Rai from Jalalpur.

The BJP’s winners were Kirat Singh from Gangoh, Suresh Chandra Tiwari from Lucknow Cantt, Rajkumar Sahyogi from Iglas, Surendra Maithani from Govindnagar, Saroj Sonkar from Balha, Vijay Kumar Rajbhar from Ghosi, and Aanand Shukla from Manikpur. The BJP’s ally Apna Dal’s (Soneylal) candidate Rajkumar Pal won the Pratapgarh seat. The S.P., apart from winning three seats, came second in five constituencies. The Congress came second at Gangoh.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which contested the Lok Sabha election in alliance with the S.P., contested on its own in the byelections and came second in two seats; at Iglas against the BJP and at Jalalpur against the S.P. The BJP was pushed to the third spot at Jalalpur.

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