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Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by-election results: A look at how bypolls have turned out for incumbents and Oppositions

The by-election results in Uttar Pradesh (and to some extent in Bihar) has shown that PM Modi is not one of the vote-getters for the party, he is the only vote getter. The BJP lost both high-profile seats, Gorakhpur and Phulpur, which had been won by three lakh-plus margins in 2014 by Adityanath and his deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya. The results of the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh assume signifance as they come almost a year after the BJP’s unprecedented victory in the state Assembly elections. This failure shows the BJP’s vulnerability in a contest against a combined and determined opposition. Unlike Phulpur, a constituency which has seen loyalties shift, Gorakhpur is a saffron bastion which has remained faithful to the Gorakhnath temple. The party had been winning the Gorakhpur seat since 1989 and Adityanath had held it for five straight terms since 1998. A loss at the hands of a resurgent Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party combine in the key seat has left the party red-faced.
The BJP has lost seven seats in by-elections held in the last four years, with the party’s tally in the Lok Sabha coming down to 274 from 282 bagged in General Elections of 2014. The BJP lost in the by-election to Bihar’s Araria Lok Sabha seat to its rival RJD. However, all was not lost for the BJP in the by-elections as it won the bypolls in Assam, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The BJP also won Vadodara, which has been its traditional stronghold seat. BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde died in a road accident in June 2014 which led to the bypoll in Maharashtra’s Beed where His daughter easily retained the seat for the BJP.