Bypoll results: A warning for UP opposition

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Lucknow, Nov 10 (IANS) The results of the by-elections on seven assembly seats are a strong message for opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh.
The message is for an over-confident Samajwadi Party that aspires to return to power 2022, for the Bahujan Samaj Party that continues to take its Dalit vote bank for granted and, especially, for the Congress that remains directionless.
Despite having harped on multiple issues — from Corona to Hathras — in the past few months, the opposition parties failed to make a single dent in the BJP’s following. The BJP retained all the six seats that it held before the by-elections and remains fighting fit for the next assembly elections.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath re-established his position as an undisputed leader in the state and his following among the people.
The biggest advantage for the BJP was the fact that the party took the by-elections seriously and deployed all its energies and organization in fighting the polls. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and state BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh vigorously campaigned even during the pandemic and all ministers and party leaders were deployed in the constituencies for campaigning.
In contrast, Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Mayawati of BSP and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of Congress chose not to campaign for their respective parties.
It was left to local leaders to carry forward the campaign which went in all directions except the right one.
The SP managed to retain the Malhani seat but was given a huge challenge by an independent candidate, Dhananjay Singh.
The Samajwadi Party put up a brave front and party leader Anurag Bhadauria said, “We will try harder again. We are not going to give up.”
A senior Congress leader said, “There was only one seat, Bangarmau, where we had hopes of winning. However, a number of leaders led by former MP Annu Tandon quit the party in the middle of the campaign and this setback led to our defeat.
“The state leadership owes us an explanation for what happened because all senior leaders were kept away from the campaign.”
Knives are out in the state Congress — not only for state president Ajay Kumar Lallu — but also for party General Secretary and in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
“Where is Priyanka Gandhi? If other leaders could campaign in the pandemic, why did she not turn up? Someone has to take responsibility for the manner in which the Congress is sinking in UP. The day is not far when the Congress will turn into non-profit organization in UP,” said a former UPCC president.
The by-elections, meanwhile, have also set alarm bells ringing for the BSP which contested the by-elections for the first time and could not win even a single seat.
The party suffered a loss of two per cent votes, compared to 2017 assembly polls.
The growing political perception of increased understanding between the BSP and the BJP, apparently, cost the BSP dear in the by-elections.
“Our party will have to do some introspection before the next assembly elections. It is up to the party high command to take a call on this,” said a BSP MLA.
Meanwhile, senior political analyst R.K. Singh, said, “It is clear that a divided opposition cannot challenge the BJP in the present circumstances. They will have to focus on ground realities and take the battle out of their air-conditioned drawing rooms. These parties will also have to connect with their party cadres and workers.”

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