The BJP appears to be wresting Rampur parliamentary seat from the Samajwadi Party with its candidate Ghyanshyam Singh Lodhi maintaining a comfortable lead in the bypoll counting for which started on Sunday morning. In Azamgarh too, BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ is maintaining a lead over his nearest rival, Dharmendra Yadav of SP. A close contest is being witnessed between the Samajwadi Party and BJP on both the seats. According to available trends, BJP candidate Lodhi is leading by a margin of 41,488 votes over SP’s Mohd Asim Raja, a close confidante of SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan in Rampur. In Azamgarh, BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ has taken a lead of 13,121 votes over SP’s Dharmendra Yadav. BSP’s Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali is trailing at third spot in Azamgarh.
While in Rampur there is direct fight between SP and BJP, Azamgarh is witnessing a triangular contest with BSP forming the third corner. Both seats were held by the SP in 2019 polls.
In Azamgarh, during counting, SP candidate Dharmendra Yadav got into an argument with security personnel over alleged denial of entry in the strongroom. Yadav alleged that ”an attempt is being made to change EVMs and that is why he was not allowed entry inside.” The SP leader was later allowed in. Superintendent of Police, Azamgarh, Anurag Arya said those entitled were allowed entry after ”frisking”. ”There was some confusion. Now he is inside and counting is going on smoothly,” Arya said. The two constituencies voted on June 23, with Azamgarh recording a turnout of 49.43 per cent and Rampur 41.39 per cent. In 2019, the vote percentage in Azamgarh was 63.19, while Rampur had witnessed 57.56 per cent polling. The bypolls were necessitated due to the resignations of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and party leader Azam Khan from Azamgarh and Rampur seats respectively.
Both leaders had quit as Lok Sabha MPs following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in the elections held earlier this year. Over 35 lakh people were eligible to vote in the bypolls to decide the fate of 19 candidates. The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not contest from Rampur.
The Azamgarh seat saw a triangular contest among the BJP’s ‘Nirhua’, a Bhojpuri actor-singer, the SP’s Yadav and the BSP’s Alam, also known as Guddu Jamali.