The by-election for two parliamentary constituencies in Utter Pradesh had great significance. The bjp held both seats of Phullpur and Gorakhpur — and Gorakhpur, in particular, was a seat the BJP had won seven consecutive times. It was also the home ground of the UP chief Minister Yogi Adityanand and considered a bastion of the BJP.

NDTV-news channel has reported that the BJP citadel of Gorakhpur has been demolished and in addition, it also lost the Phullpur seat. The loss was to a rejuvenated alliance between the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.

The alliance between the two leaders Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav was stitched just before the elections and took the BJP by surprise. Still, the BJP expected to win the seats but in the election which though having a low turnout has ended in the defeat of the BJP.

Defeat in UP

The defeat in UP is of great significance as the state of UP sends 80 members to parliament, and in the 2014 election, the BJP had won 72 seats. A loss in UP can severely dent the ability of the BJP to form the government in 2019. The defeat in Gorakhpur is all the more galling as the BJP had won this seat seven consecutive times and Yogi Addityanand had been elected from this constituency five times.

The decks are now being cleared for the 2019 general election, and the BJP knows it will have to face a united BSP and Samajwadi party.

Both Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati were facing oblivion after their rout in the parliamentary polls and the recent state election in which both were badly beaten. They have been at daggers drawn for decades but facing a complete disaster the two joined buried the hatchet to fight the BJP. The victory of the alliance has sent alarm bells ringing in the BJP headquarters, and Amit Shah and other top leaders including Narendra Modi are meeting to take stock of the situation.

The 2004 defeat

One is reminded of a defeat in 2004 of the BJP under Vajpayee. It had approached the election with the slogan "India shining" but the voters did not think India was shining and Vajpayee was defeated. The BJP came back to power in 2014 after ten years in the wilderness under Narendra Modi, but the portents for 2019 are not too rosy.

The BJP had come to power on a platform of development for all but somewhere down the line issues like cow slaughter and Ram temple came to the fore. In addition, Modi's failure to honor his pledge to ex-soldiers for sanction of OROP also had an effect and all ex-servicemen voted against Modi.

Modi will have to pull up his socks as winning in UP is the key to ruling India.