The BJP today headed for a massive win in biennial elections to the Uttar Pradesh legislative council or upper house, weeks after its record victory in state elections, but had to settle for a loss in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.
The state’s legislative council has 100 seats and 36 vacant seats voted a few days ago. The BJP is ahead in more than 30 seats and is all set to win a majority in the upper house. It had already won nine seats unopposed.
Once the results are formally declared, the party will enjoy a majority in both houses of Uttar Pradesh for the first time in decades.
In Varanasi, Annapurna Singh, the wife of local strongman Brijesh Singh, has won the seat by a massive margin, with the BJP candidate placing second. In the 2016 election to this seat, Brijesh Singh had won as an independent but the BJP more or less gave him a walkover by not putting up a candidate. This time, the BJP decided to contest and made the polls in the eastern UP city a prestige battle
Apart from the loss in Varanasi, it’s a win-win for the BJP, which scored a huge majority in the February-March UP election with Yogi Adityanath becoming Chief Minister for the second time.
The opposition Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav has not managed to win a single seat in the election. Among its candidates was doctor Kafeel Khan, who was jailed earlier for his alleged role in the Gorakhpur oxygen deaths in 2017.
The voters in these elections are MPs, MLAs, urban corporators and village level representatives like pradhans. This is bad news for the Samajwadi Party and its chief Akhilesh Yadav, right after the assembly election loss where the party stacked up a respectable tally of 111 seats but could not dethrone the BJP.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a member of the legislative council (MLC) in the previous government and now an MLA, also cast his vote from his home turf Gorakhpur. The BJP is winning the seat. For Yogi Adityanath, the MLC election victory is another big endorsement of his rising stature within the party.