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Ghosi Bypoll: Sudhakar Singh’s Victory not Only SP’s Win but INDIA’s too, Says Akhilesh

Over two dozen ministers, along with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, had campaigned for ‘turncoat’ BJP candidate Dara Singh Chauhan.
SP President Akhilesh Yadav addresses an election campaign rally in support of party candidate Sudhakar Singh ahead of Ghosi by-election,(PTI)

SP President Akhilesh Yadav addresses an election campaign rally in support of party candidate Sudhakar Singh ahead of Ghosi by-election. Image Courtesy: PTI

Lucknow:  Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate, Sudhakar Singh, recorded a glorious win leading by 42,759 votes  in the prestigious battle for the party’s stronghold in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi. The seat was vacated following the resignation of Dara Singh Chauhan in July, who had won the seat in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls as a SP candidate. He returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was fielded by the party in this bypoll.

SP national president Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet on X, "Ghosi has not only made the SP candidate win but it also is the victory of the INDIA coalition candidate. And now this will be the outcome of the approaching tomorrow (2024).”

Over two dozen ministers along with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had campaigned for Chauhan in the bypoll, following reports of discontent among the public over Chauhan’s frequent party-hopping.

Of the nearly 4.38 lakh voters in Ghosi, 90,000 are Muslims, 60,000 dalits and 77,000 from the “upper castes” — 45,000 bhumihars, 16,000 rajputs and 6,000 brahmins, according to estimates. 

Besides the Congress and the Left parties, SP’s Singh, who was taking on Chauhan, also has the support of INDIA bloc members Aam Aadmi Party, the CPI(ML)-Liberation and the Suheldev Swabhiman Party (SSP) — a splinter group of the SBSP.

Read also: UP: Amid Ghosi Bypolls on Tuesday, Muslims Allege Threats, Intimidation

Speaking with NewsClick, Sannu Azmi, a senior journalist in Ghosi, said despite over two dozen ministers, including two deputy chief ministers, senior BJP leaders and office-bearers, campaigning for nearly two weeks in the constituency, moving from one village to another and canvassing for the party candidate, the saffron party lost the seat with a big margin.

"Dara Singh Chauhan was never in the fight. There are multiple reasons behind the defeat. First, during urban body polls, BJP fielded Ajay Rai for the post of chairperson from Mau who had left Bahujan Samaj Party three years ago to join BJP due to which there was palpable anger among party workers. Kumar lost the election by 40,000 votes to BSP candidate Arshad Jamal. Mau is also the hometown of UP energy minister AK Sharma. The party high command did not learn from its previous mistake and repeated the same in the bypoll and fielded another parachute candidate, Dara Singh Chauhan, who crossed over to the saffron party from SP," he said, explaining the people’s discontent.

Talking about another local aspect of the saffron party’s defeat, Azmi said, "Local BJP leaders distanced themselves from campaigning for Chauhan and there was anger against Om Prakash Rajbhar (of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party) as he would have immediately taken credit for the victory if BJP had won the election. Furthermore, the core supporters of BJP did not step out to use their franchise."

When asked about who the dalit could have voted for since the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has not fielded any candidate, Azmi said that vote percentage was less than the last election but after analysing the trend, it seems the SP captured 50-60% dalit votes. 

The Ghosi bypoll was a prestige issue for BJP, as it had lost the seat in the 2022 Assembly elections. Chauhan had then defeated BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Rajbhar. Now, with Chauhan back in the BJP camp, the party made an all-out effort to wrest the seat that it won in the 2017 Assembly elections but could not succeed. 

Polling in Ghosi constituency was held on Tuesday. The campaign witnessed verbal sparring between SP and the BJP, accusing each other of breach of the model code of conduct. Akhilesh Yadav and his party accused the security forces of acting at the behest of the ruling party and allowing Muslim voters to use their franchise, as reported by NewsClick.

Chauhan had wrested the seat from BJP whose Phagu Chauhan won it for the party in the 2017 Assembly polls. Post Chauhan's nomination as governor of Bihar in 2019, Vijay Rajbhar ensured that BJP continued to occupy the seat in the bypolls that followed.

In the 2022 Assembly elections, the current BJP candidate, Chauhan, had defeated then BJP’s Vijay Kumar Rajbhar by a margin of 22,216 votes. Ghosi recorded a polling percentage of 58.59% this time.

Commenting on SP’s victory, Haji Ghufran, a Communist Party of India (CPI) leader in Ghosi, told NewsClick, "The administration and ruling party ministers terrorise the minority community so much that people made up their minds to vote against BJP."

The CPI leader believes the “wave of change” has started from Ghosi and the effect will be visible in Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

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