LS bypolls: Double blow  for SP as BJP wrests  Azamgarh, Rampur seats

| | Lucknow
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LS bypolls: Double blow  for SP as BJP wrests  Azamgarh, Rampur seats

Monday, 27 June 2022 | PNS | Lucknow

Sunday was a day of double whammy for the Samajwadi Party as its candidates lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party in their bastion — Rampur and Azamgarh — in the Lok Sabha byelections. 

BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ in Azamgarh defeated SP’s Dharmendra Yadav by 8,679 votes while Ghanshayam Singh Lodhi beat Asim Raza by 42,192 votes.

Both seats have been the P strongholds. The Azamgarh seat was vacated following the election of Akhilesh to the state assembly while the Rampur seat was vacated by Azam Khan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the BJP’s victory in Azampur and Rampur on Twitter terming it “historic”. 

“The bypoll wins in Azamgarh and Rampur are historic. It indicates wide-scale acceptance and support for the double-engine Governments at the Centre and in UP. Grateful to the people for their support. I appreciate the efforts of our Party karyakartas,” the PM tweeted.

The Azamgarh seat saw a triangular contest among BJP’s Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’, SP’s Dharmendra Yadav and BSP’s Shah Alam, also known as Guddu Jamali.

In Azamgarh, Shah Alam polled over 2 lakh votes, denting the prospects of Dhamendra Yadav. Another factor for this tight contest could be due to the absence of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav from the campaign.

However, Dharmendra Yadav claimed that Akhilesh was keeping an eye on the poll campaign. Earlier, Yadav had an argument with security personnel over allegedly being denied access to the strong room where the EVMs were kept. Yadav alleged that an attempt was being made to change the EVMs and that was why he was not allowed in. The SP leader was later allowed inside the strong room.

SP, Azamgarh, Anurag Arya said there was some confusion but he (Dharmendra Yadav) was later allowed entry to the strong room.

The two constituencies went to the polls on June 23. Azamgarh and Rampur recorded 49.43% and 41.39% turnout. Over 35 lakh people were eligible to vote in the bypolls to decide the fate of 19 candidates.

The BSP did not contest the Rampur bypoll and that helped the BJP as the Dalit votes shifted to the saffron party. NOTA got 4,447 votes.

SP’s Rampur district president Virendra Goyal alleged that the BJP misused its power to win the seat. “The BJP candidate has been declared the winner. But, the administration has done something wrong in counting. Earlier, the voter turnout on the polling day remained low because the administration did not allow the SP voters to come out to exercise their franchise,” Goyal alleged.

Azam had won from Rampur in the Lok Sabha election in 2019 when the SP had an alliance with the BSP and RLD. In 2014, BJP’s Nepal Singh had won the Rampur seat albeit with a thin margin of 23,435 votes.

Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, who is an OBC, is a former SP MLC who had started his political career with the BJP but later switched sides. He had contested the Lok Sabha elections from Rampur as a BSP candidate in 2009 but finished third. He was elected as a member of the UP Legislative Council from the Rampur-Bareilly local bodies constituency in 2016 as an SP candidate. His term ended in March earlier this year.

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