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Disillusioned, divided cadre behind BJP bypoll loss

The Brahmin-Thakur rivalry in the Gorakhpur region unit of BJP is said to be a big reason for the party not fighting the bypoll unitedly.

Mar 16, 2018, 07.50 AM IST
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Sources said since BJP chief Amit Shah and his core team were not involved in the campaign, the workers at the state and the constituency levels took it easy.
NEW DELHI: Though BJP leaders tried to play down the defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, many accept that it has come as a huge embarrassment and the reason for the loss is not just the SP-BSP tie-up but a host of factors, including intraparty equations that have led to this outcome.

The Brahmin-Thakur rivalry in the Gorakhpur region unit of BJP is said to be a big reason for the party not fighting the bypoll unitedly. While the candidate Upendra Shukla was chosen by the central leadership, the onus of ensuring his victory was on both Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the other faction. The CM held almost two dozen rallies in the constituency but the party cadre did not participate actively in these campaigns.

Sources said since BJP chief Amit Shah and his core team were not involved in the campaign, the workers at the state and the constituency levels took it easy. Over confidence and complacency seem to have played a key role in the defeat. The low turnout in both the constituencies was the first indication for BJP leaders that it has done badly in the elections. The party has done badly even in the urban assembly segments, which are a stronghold of the BJP.

“The BJP workers had high expectations but are now getting somewhat disillusioned as the ministers in the UP government are not accessible and their grievances are not addressed,” a party office bearer said.

Though Yogi Adityanath has announced several sops for his Lok Sabha constituency over the last one year, his failure to ensure victory on his turf has been a bigger embarrassment for him.

He accepted that local factors were responsible for the disappointing outcome which has been read by the party as an indication of the party office-bearers working at cross purpose during the campaign. The party is now concerned about cadre disenchantment costing it dear in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The SP-BSP tie-up (with Congress also likely to join in) would mean consolidation of around 45-50% of the votes. In a threecornered contest, a candidate needs only around 30%votes to win.

With the opposition having drawn lessons from the 2014 elections, it is unlikely that it will play into the hands of the BJP. It would suit the opposition to take the elections to the caste equation and not let BJP polarise it.

BJP will have to take the outcome seriously and not dismiss it as a mere defeat in a bypoll that would have no bearing on the Lok Sabha seats in UP.

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