The BJPs hopes to repeat its 2014 performance in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, that sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, in the 2019 Parliamentary elections, suffered a serious setback with the Smajawadi Party (SP) and BSP combine - which captured the saffron bastions of Gorakhpur and Phulpur - threatening to alter the electoral equations in the state. The wins would not only boost the morale of SP and BSP workers but also give a fillip to the efforts to form a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) to thwart BJPs victory march in 2019.
The loss triggered a scare within the BJP, which appeared to be confident about its victory at both places, especially in Gorakhpur, which was the home town of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and the saffron party leaders promised to do "introspection". Incidentally, it was the SP-BSP combine that had defeated the BJP in the 1993 Assembly polls at a time when the saffron party hoped to ride the Ram Temple wave.
"It appears that we failed to understand the impact of the SP-BSP alliance... it came as a surprise to us, when it was announced... we had not imagined that it would be able to wean away our voters," said BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. What came as a shock to the BJP was the fact that it had won the two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by around three lakh votes.
Even the combined vo...