SP leads in Gorakhpur, Phulpur bypolls

Counting of votes for Gorakhpur, Phulpur Lok Sabha by-elections tomorrow

BJP will win bypolls with big margin: Adityanath

The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats following their election to the state legislative council. At the end of round 2, the SP took a lead of 1,500 votes, after which the SP kept on increasing its lead.

The Samajwadi Party has slipped into the lead as votes are counted in by-elections for Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur parliament seat, where a top official has barred the media from entering the counting centre in what is now a full-blown political controversy.

The elections see a triangular contest between the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-backed Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress which chose to fight the elections on its own.

Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times.

An Election Commission (EC) official said all arrangements had been made for the counting of ballots and the results were expected to be declared by tomorrow afternoon.

In Phulpur, SP's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel was ahead by 3,600 votes with BJP's Kaushalendra Singh Patel trailing behind him.

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Around 1 pm, Samajwadi candidate Praveen Kumar Nishad was leading with 1,33,565 votes over BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla after the ninth round of counting. Gorakhpur is a home of BJP and Yogi Adityanath Since 1989.

A total of 47 per cent polling was recorded in Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypoll.

In neighbouring Bihar, the turnout was slightly better - 57% in Araria Lok Sabha constituency and 50.6% and 54.6% respectively in Jehanabad and Bhabhua Assembly constituencies. He confirmed that after the fifth round of voting, the SP candidate has 74,077 votes in his kitty while the BJP has 70,317 votes.

Amid poor balloting - 43 per cent in Gorakhpur and 37.39 per cent in Phulpur, both the ruling as well as the opposition was claiming victory.

After casting his vote, a beaming Adityanath told reporters that the "BJP continues to get a groundswell of public support since they are witnessing development, peace and prosperity under its government". In UP capital Lucknow, the state assembly was adjourned for 10 minutes as Samajwadi Party legislators protested.

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