Lok Sabha bypolls in UP: Counting of votes tomorrow

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav

The counting of votes for the bypolls held on March 11, began at 8:00 am.

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. The Gorakhpur seat has been with the BJP since 1989. The results of the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypolls will be announced on Wednesday and the results can be significant in light of the 2019 general elections.

The constituency had fallen vacant previous year following Yogi Adityanath's resignation as the Lok Sabha MP from this seat after he was made the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

For the BJP, the election is a prestige issue for chief minister Yogi Adityanath who represented the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat five times in a row till he took over as chief minister in 2017. Bihar by-polls 2018 for the Araria seat was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohd Taslimuddin. Samajwadi Party candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel is leading in Phulpur. It will also test the recently formed electoral arrangement between the two arch-rivals - Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP).

Attacking the BSP and the SP, the chief minister claimed, "These parties are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism". Moreover, it will also be interesting to see whether Adityanath and Maurya, both stalwarts in their party, can transfer their support base to the new BJP candidates. In Gorakhpur seat in Uttar Pradesh, there was a voter turnout of 43% and in Phulpur, 37.4% of the electorate turned up to vote.

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In Phulpur, the poorest polling was reported from Allahabad (East) where only 21.65 percent voters turned up to exercise their franchise, followed by Allahabad (West) with 31 percent.

Initially, the postal ballots were being counted after which the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be opened for counting. BJP got 82811 votes.

On the other hand, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav had said it (polling day) was a day to "change and re-write history".

The Congress is fighting on its own and has named Surahita Kareem as its candidate.

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