BJP suffers shock defeat in 'dress rehearsal' for 2019 polls

Gladys Abbott
March 16, 2018

Opposition strategists say the only way Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) juggernaut can be stopped is to join forces and turn 2019 into a "Modi versus the rest" election.

Nishad said this before leaving for Lucknow with his son to meet SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.

THe BJP's stunning defeat at the hands of the Samajwadi Party, which was helped by the Bahujan Samaj Party, in bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Wednesday has sparked off talk of an SP-BSP alliance in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. Party leader Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner recently for all non-BJP parties, an event that was attended by leaders of 20 Opposition parties, including the Congress. BJP must prevent the coming together of these two old foes.

He has also said the result will give a message to the country.

It was a direct fight between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and the Grand Alliance of the RJD-Congress in Bihar, a year ahead of the next Lok Sabha battle.

The sources said that Gandhi met Pawar at the latter's residence last night but no details were available.

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Senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and MLA Shivpal Singh Yadav, though lauding the leadership of the party, has congratulated the party workers, people of the constituencies for victory in bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. Reddy, however, praised the SP-BSP combine.

"Our ties are good with everyone", he said, commenting on the BSP's support to the Samajwadi Party in the Uttar Pradesh by-polls. Since he became Chief Minister he had showered the constituency with projects of various types.

The RJD registered emphatic victories in Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad assembly seats. Today, political circles are abuzz with the debate that it could have been the Noida jinx that led to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur defeats.

These figures are derived by simple pooling of the votes won by the SP and BSP candidates in 2017 Assembly elections.

As Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) ditched the BJP, the party allied with two caste parties for 2014: Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, which capitalises upon the Paswan Dalit caste, and Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, which targets the Koeri vote.

The BJP's offering of vikas (development) is how the party explains its election victories. "We can see BJP is sinking ..." The Narendra Modi government at the centre is a "dictatorship" and had "surpassed" the Emergency imposed by the Congress in 1975, she added.

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