Samajwadi Party workers started celebrating as their candidates established significant leads over the ruling BJP in by-elections for Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats in Uttar Pradesh. In the prestigious parliamentary seat of Gorakhpur, vacated by the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath last year, the SP was ahead by more than 26,000 votes by 3.30 pm. In Phulpur, vacated by his deputy Keshav Maurya, the SP is leading by nearly 40,000 votes. The by-election is a prestige battle for the ruling party, which took on the combined might of SP and Mayawati's BSP in an experiment seen to test a bigger alliance for the 2019 national election. The BJP is also trailing in one parliamentary seat, Araria, in Bihar.