Setback to SP in UP bypolls; Congress, BJP win a seat each

Lucknow, Feb 16 (IANS) In a setback to the ruling Samajwadi Party, the BJP and the Congress on Tuesday snatched from it a seat each of the Uttar Pradesh assembly for which by-elections were held last week.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kapil Dev Agarwal won the by-election in the Muzaffarnagar constituency where communal riots had taken place in 2013. Agarwal was elected by a margin of over 6,000 votes. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Samajwadi Party (SP) legislator Chitranjan Swarop last year.

The Congress’s Mavia Ali defeated his nearest SP rival Meena Rana by 3,424 votes for the Deoband seat in Saharanpur district. The seat fell vacant with the death of SP lawmaker Rajendra Singh Rana.

The SP fielded Meena Devi while the BJP nominated former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Rampal Singh Pundhir for the by-poll in the constituency.

The SP was, however, able to ‘retain’ the third seat — Bikapur in Faizabad district — where Anand Sen Yadav won. The seat was earlier held by the SP’s Mitrasen Yadav, who too died last year.

The results do not bring any cheer to the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government which had been projecting itself as a “popular” government.

It was only last week that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that he will return to power on popular support.

It is argued that the party has lost despite a “sympathy wave” in favour of it since its legislators in the three constituencies were all sitting members of the assembly.

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