Wrong candidates, disenchanted workers ensured BJP's drubbing in UP bypolls

When Narendra Modi won office in 2014 with the most resounding victory in three decades the BJP and its allies ruled only states but they are now in power in 21 of them

Contesting separately, these two parties were subsequently swept away by the BJP during the Assembly elections in the state past year.

Celebrations broke out in many parts of the state as Samajwadi Party cadres smeared each other with Holi colours and raised slogans in favour of the BSP-SP alliance.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday chided his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath on Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) performance in the by-elections there, by advising him to spend less time "lecturing" Karnataka on development. As beaming Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders distributed candies in Parliament to celebrate their victory, Congress members joined in, saying the entire Opposition was united in its goal to defeat the BJP in the 2019 general election. The Congress's footprint, in fact, has shrunk across India, having being marginalised also in states such as Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, where it has ceded space to regional forces.

An Indian political party that governs a southern state quit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's coalition on Friday blaming it for a lack of financial support, officials said, in a blow to the coalition ahead of national elections next year. It clearly hinted at people's wish to escape from the BJP rule, he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

"Naturally they are looking at alternatives". Seat-sharing in an alliance also creates antagonism among party cadres which can backfire.

"Karimpuri was sent to HP and there also our party did not see any success during the Vidhan Sabha elections". The only consolation that the BJP can take at the moment is the drubbing of the Congress in UP, where the candidates of grand old party lost their deposits.

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What is clear, however, is that if the SP and BSP come together, the BJP could face a serious challenge.

Another Congress leader, former Union minister S Jaipal Reddy, said the idea of a third front as propagated by Rao was merely a "stunt" to "befool" the people. The Samajwadi Party defeated the BJP in the two constituencies.

These two victories are a morale booster for SP and BSP.

The BJP won 71 of 80 seats from Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and its ally Apna Dal won another two. The Araria Lok Sabha seat became vacant after the death previous year of Mohammad Taslimuddin, the RJD MP.

The victories in Phulpur and Gorakhpur of the SP-BSP alliance has proved to be a big setback for the BJP.

In the last Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress contested in only 103 of the 403 seats while the SP fought from 298.

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