In what can be a major jolt to the incumbent BJP that is ruling both UP and the Centre, the by poll result of UP and Bihar come as a rude shock.
Addressing a press conference, Akhilesh Yadav profusely thanked Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and her party workers for his party's victory in the by-polls. But in the midway, the SP and the BSP entered into a political bargaining for the Rajya Sabha polls. And foremost of these could be the much-hyped and oft-repeated claims of the government on "development".
The by-elections at Gorakhpur and Phulpur were a keenly watched affair. "It has been a government that hurts people".
His guru Mahant Awaidyanath held the seat for three terms before that. The party had won 282 seats in 2014, and had often flaunted that number before allies as good enough to run on its own.
But many regard the SP-BSP tie up in the UP by-poll as a test run for 2019. The Bihar template of JD (U)-RJD-Congress coming together to form an anti- Modi, anti-BJP coalition (though it broke with Nitish Kumar dumping RJD-Congress and joining hands with BJP) has now acted as a template for Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh.
The issue was raised by Samajwadi Party's (SP) Ram Govind Chaudhary. Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD was making a comeback in these seats.
The Samajwadi party had contested the Uttar Pradesh's assembly election in alliance with Rahul Gandhi's Congress in 2017, an alliance that was a disaster and reduced the SP, which contested almost 300 seats, to just 47 seats and the Congress, 7. It lost its deposit in both Gorakhpur and Phulpur, where it chose to go it alone.
The SP's victory reminded numerous triumph of the now defunct JD (U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance in Bihar which had trounced the BJP-led NDA in 2015. Adityanath and Maurya both resigned from the parliament to become Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, thus necessitating the by-elections.
The Congress, which had lost in all the 25 seats in Rajasthan in 2014 polls, managed to make a comeback in the state early this year as it won the Lok Sabha by-polls in Alwar and Ajmer. Gorakhpur constituency belongs to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
By way of opposition, it is still the regional satraps - the SP-BSP in UP and the RJD in Bihar - who showed their mettle to take on the BJP in these bypolls. The margin was decisive enough for the BJP to concede defeat.
"The over-confidence and inability to understand the electoral understanding between the SP and the BSP led to the defeat", Mr. Adityanath stressed.
"This is a rejection of both (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and Yogi (Adityanath)", Samajwadi Party spokesman Anurag Bhaudauria told IANS. Saffron party's lead in Gorakhpur reduced to 2,000.