The BJP’s defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary bypolls has come as a deep shock for the party leadership who had never imagined that the party would lose on the same seats which they had so convincingly won last time.
“It has come as a very rude shock. No one was expecting within the party or outside it to lose Gorakphur which we have been winning since 1989. It has awakened us to the possibility of what can happen if the opposition unites. There is no doubt that our leaders have become complacent and have taken the 2019 elections for granted. If someone like Adityanath was not able to secure a win on his seat you can just imagine what will happen on ‘weak’ seats if we continue to maintain this complacency,” said a senior BJP leader.
According to one Rajya Sabha party MP, as soon as the news of the result started coming in and it became clear that SP-BSP combine was leading, most of the BJP MPs decided that it was best to go “underground” since they were not briefed on how to handle the media questions in case the BJP lost the UP bypolls as it was never expected.
What has caused even more worry for the party is that the results of the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypoll results will have an impact on neighbouring Madhya Pradesh which shares borders with UP and where the party is facing a visible anti-incumbency.
Both the BSP and SP, which contested the UP bypolls together, have a sizeable support base in the MP constituencies that share borders with UP. In the last Assembly election in MP, even though the BSP failed to win a single seat, it managed to secure more than 6% votes. In the 2008 polls BSP had won on seven seats.
“If the Congress, whose leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has already called for an alliance with the BSP in Madhya Pradesh, is able to take the Samajwadi Party and the Gondwana Gantantra Party along, then we will have a real battle on our hand in MP as then we will not be able to bank on the anti-BJP votes being divided. As per the state leaders, this alliance, if forged, may have an impact on at least 70 seats which is a big number in the 230 seats Assembly,” a senior leader from the state said.