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BJP suffers worst-ever drubbing in UP

May 14, 2004 18:32 IST

Despite fierce and extensive campaigning by Bharatiya Janata Party's top guns in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party saw substantial erosion in its vote bank suffering the worst-ever drubbing in just-concluded Lok Sabha election.

The BJP's tally slumped from 25 in 1999 to 10 this time even though Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee retained his Lucknow Lok Sabha seat by a huge margin of over 200,000 votes.

Several BJP stalwarts, including Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Swami Chinmayanand, state assembly speaker Kesri Nath Tripathi and Uttar Pradesh party unit chief Vinay Katiyar, bit the dust.

The Ram temple issue could not help the saffron party even in Faizabad where its candidate Laloo Singh lost to BSP's Mitrasen Yadav. The party nominee was also humbled in Mathura.

The BJP could not open its account in Kashi (Varanasi) region, which has 13 Lok Sabha seats.

Though party stalwart Kalyan Singh scraped through in Bulandshshar by a mere 6,500 votes, the BJP lost Aligarh, Singh's hometown, to Congress, which registered a win for the first time in a decade.

On the other hand, Samajwadi Party led by Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, belying pollsters, garnered 35 Lok Sabha seats, its highest-ever tally in the state.

The party contested 70 seats leaving 10 to its alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh, which pocketed three seats.

Samajwadi Party's arch-foes Bahujan Samaj Party, which holds sway over Dalits, increased its tally from 14 to 19 showing party's inroads into other sections of society.

Despite star campaigner Rahul Gandhi, Congress could barely hold on to its tally of nine seats.

The Congress lost Rampur, Meerut, Pratapgarh and Muzaffarnagar, but for the first time in a decade made its presence felt in Poorvanchal (eastern) region annexing Varanasi and Bansgaon seats.

The SP not only managed to keep its hold in the eastern region intact but also grabbed seats in Bundelkhand region where the party failed to open its account in 1999.

The alliance with the RLD paid off in the western region following consolidation of Muslim-Jat-Yadav combination, while the K-factor (Kalyan Singh) failed to deliver for the BJP.

The BSP succeeded in breaking new grounds despite the absence of top party leader Kanshi Ram who is ailing. Party chief Mayawati single handedly led the charge.

Fielding a large number of Muslims and members of the upper caste proved to be a major success for the party.

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