Uttar Pradesh bypolls were held on March 11, Sunday, in Gorakhpur constituency as the seat was vacated by Yogi Adityanath after taking over as the Chief Minister last year. A total of 43 per cent polling was recorded in Gorakhpur where 10 candidates fought the Gorakhpur by-election. The by-election are being seen as a "rehearsal" for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and are seeing a triangular contest involving the ruling BJP, the SP and the Congress. The key candidates are BJP's Upendra Shukla, Congress' Suhita Chatterjee Kareem while Samajwadi Party is contesting the Gorakhpur election with the Peace Party and Nishad Party which has fielded Praveen Kumar Nishad as their candidate.The Gorakhpur by-election result will be announced on March 14.
Winning Gorakhpur seat is a matter of prestige for the BJP as it has been a bastion of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who has won from that seat five consecutive times. Mr Adityanath had secured over 50 per cent vote share in the last three elections, and is the party's face in this by-poll. He aggressively campaigned for the BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla, who made debut with UP by-poll election.
The elections have assumed greater significance in light of changed political dynamics in the state. To topple the BJP, arch rivals Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have turned friends from foes for the first time in 25 years. While BSP has not fielded any candidate from the seat, former chief minister and party chief Mayawati announced that her party would "vote for a candidate who will be in a position to defeat the BJP". Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had slammed the SP-BSP understanding as "the coming together of a mongoose and a snake when a storm brews". On the Gorakhpur by-election day, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that he was confident of "victory margins as big as in 2014" and was "not worried at all".Attacking the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), the chief minister said, "These parties are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism. The state has suffered the negative consequences."