The byelection results for the prestigious Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency and the two Vidhan Sabha seats gave both the main political actors, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), something to cheer about. While with the SP registered a comprehensive victory in Mainpuri and its ally the Rahtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won the Khatauli Vidhan Sabha seat by over 22,000 votes, the saffron party wrested the Rampur Assembly seat from the SP.
In Mainpuri, the SP president’s wife and party candidate Dimple Yadav defeated the BJP’s Raghuraj Singh Shakya by 2,88,461 votes. Ms. Yadav polled 6,18,120 votes against Mr. Shakya, who received 3,29,659 votes.
The byelection in Mainpuri, a seat the SP has held since 1996, was necessitated due to the demise of SP founder and three-time CM Mulayam Singh Yadav, who represented the constituency five times in Lok Sabha.
The SP dedicated the victory to the late Mulayam, with party leaders claiming that the margin of success signals the things to come in the run-up to the 2024 elections. U.P. witnessed high-pitched campaigning for these byelections with the SP leadership engaging in door-to-door voter outreach in Mainpuri along with over 100-odd meetings.
However, for the SP, the loss in the Rampur Sadar Vidhan Sabha seat, considered the citadel of its Muslim face and 10-time MLA Azam Khan, comes as a shock with the BJP winning the constituency by a margin of over 33,000 votes. In the seat comprising roughly 50% Muslim electorate, the saffron party’s candidate Akash Sexena polled 81,432 votes, while Azam Khan’s protege and SP nominee Asim Raja got a mere 47,296 votes.
Rampur witnessed a low turnout on polling day, December 5, with only around 33% voters coming out to vote amid allegations by the SP that Muslim voters were prevented by the ruling party, with help from the administration, from reaching the polling centres.
The byelection for the Rampur Sadar seat was necessitated due conviction of Mr. Khan in a 2019 hate speech case leading to his disqualification as an MLA. CM Yogi Adityanath expressed gratitude to voters of Rampur for electing the BJP.
In the Khatauli Vidhan Sabha bypoll, Madan Bhaiya of the RLD wrested the seat from the BJP by a margin of 22,054 votes. Mr. Madan polled 97,139 votes, while his nearest rival — the BJP candidate Rajkumari Saini — polled only 74,996 votes. The byelection in Khatauli was also necessitated due to the disqualification of BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini, following his conviction and sentencing of two years imprisonment by a district court in a 2013 riots case. The saffron party tried to retain the seat by fielding his wife Rajkumari Saini.