Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday suffered a stunning electoral upset with the joint opposition candidates posting victories in the bypolls for Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly constituencies.
Rashtriya Lok Dal's Tabassum Hasan won the Kairana seat by a margin of 44,618 votes, while Naeemul Hasan of the Samajwadi Party bagged the Noorpur Assembly seat by a margin on 5,662 votes. Both seats were earlier held by the BJP.
The opposition victories follow the BJP defeats in the Lok Sabha by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur in March, and come just a year before the general election.
In Kairana, Tabassum polled 4,81,182 votes, while BJP's Mriganka Singh got 4,36,564 votes, the election office said.
The death of Singh's father, BJP MP Hukum Singh, had necessitated the bypoll. Hasan (48) has now become the first Muslim face from Uttar Pradesh in the 16th Lok Sabha. The RLD candidate, who was supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, established an almost invincible lead by noon.
In Noorpur, SP's Naeemul Hasan was backed by the Congress, the BSP and the Aam Aadmi Party. Naeemul Hasan polled 94,875 votes while BJP's Avni Singh got 89,213 votes.
Election for the assembly seat followed the death of Avni Singh's husband Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.
Tabassum Hasan said her victory showed the people were now standing up against the BJP “misrule”.
“Had there be no EVM problem, my victory margin would have been more. I was confident of my victory as I had faith in the people," she said.
She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have no impact in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“The BJP's arrogant people say there is no alternative to Modi, but the Almighty always finds a way out and the alliance of opposition parties will come out triumphant against the BJP in 2019."
"My victory has proved that the path of the united opposition is clear in 2019," she said.
Losing BJP candidate Mriganka Singh said, "We were unable to convey the achievements of the Centre and the UP government to the people."
Jayant Chaudhary, RLD's national vice president and son of party leader Ajit Singh, said, "The agenda of those who wanted to win the bypolls by spreading communalism has been rejected by the people.”
"In this election, every person said that 'ganna' (sugarcane) and not 'Jinnah' is the issue,” he said. He said in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the role of the RLD will be important.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said, "This is a defeat for those who do not believe in democracy and play divisive politics. The people have given a befitting reply to the BJP,” he said.
RLD national spokesman Anil Dubey said, "This victory is not of our party alone, but of the united opposition. With this victory, we succeeded in uniting the society which the BJP attempted to fragment with its divisive politics."
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma claimed the opposition resorted to communalism and caste to win.
"We believe in working for development and we don't want to contest elections on communal or caste lines," the BJP leader said.
"The opposition is in a state of political unemployment. Hence it is resorting to every trick to ensure the victory of its candidate. We are contesting elections as a part of democracy and will continue to do so and win elections," he said.
Counting of votes for the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly by-elections began Thursday morning amid tight security arrangements.
Polling for the high-stakes bye-elections to the two constituencies was held on Monday.
In Kairana, repolling was held at 73 polling stations on Wednesday.