Lucknow: Counting of votes for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls began on Wednesday amid tight security arrangements.
An Election Commission (EC) official said all arrangements had been made for the counting of ballots and the results were expected to be declared by afternoon.
The voter turnout was 47.45% in Gorakhpur and 37.39% in Phulpur in Sunday’s polling. Ten nominees were in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates contested from Phulpur. According to the EC, there are 19.61 lakh voters in Phulpur parliamentary constituency, while the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat has 19.49 lakh voters.
The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, respectively, following their election to the state legislative council.
After casting his vote in Gorakhpur, Adityanath had claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was getting widespread support from the people, while Maurya had said his party would win both the seats.
Adityanath had also called the BSP-SP partnership for the bypolls an “unholy alliance”. “The voters will reject this opportunistic, unethical and unholy alliance,” he had said.
On the other hand, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav had said it (polling day) was a day to “change and re-write history”.
Termed by Adityanath a “rehearsal” for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the bypolls saw a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the SP and the Congress.
The saffron party had fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur. The SP had fielded Pravin Nishad from Gorakhpur and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel from Phulpur. The Congress had nominated Sureetha Kareem for Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra for Phulpur.
Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times. Prior to Adityanath, the seat was thrice represented in Parliament by his mentor, Yogi Avaidyanath.
Phulpur, once represented by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha election when Maurya won the seat. Meanwhile, in Gorakhpur, district magistrate Rajiv Routela said, as per EC instructions, there will be restriction on victory processions after the results.livemint