Lucknow: All eyes are on tomorrow's counting of votes for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, where polling was held on March 11.
The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats respectively, following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council in September last year.
The BJP has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP's Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel respectively. Sureetha Kareem is the Congress candidate from Gorakhpur. The party has fielded Manish Mishra from Phulpur.
The Election Commission here on Tuesday said all preparations for smooth conduct of the counting have been done in Gorakhpur and Allahabad. The counting will start at 0800 hrs on Wednesday and the results are expected by late afternoon.
In both the by-elections, the EVMs, equipped with VVPAT where the voters can see for whom they have voted, were used while Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System were used to dispatch postal ballots to eligible service voters in the constituencies. The elections will be seen as a referendum for Mr Adityanath, as he himself has been a five-time MP from the temple town of Gorakhpur. BJP has a stronghold on the seat from where it has won since 1989.
On the other hand Phulpur, once the bastion of the Congress and represented by country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, when Mr Maurya won the seat.
However, a low voter turnout in the by-elections has given headache for political parties.
With Phulpur polling 37.39 per cent and Gorakhpur 47 per cent gives enough prediction that the result could be a tight one and victory margin could be less than a lakh.
In 2014 parliamentary elections, Phulpur polled around 50.16 per cent of the 19 lakh voters and Mr Maurya won by a landslide margin of more than five lakh votes.
Similarly in Gorakhpur, Mr Adityanath won the seat for the fifth time by a margin of over three lakhs in 2014 when there was 54.65 per cent of polling.
The ruling BJP did not only win both the seats in the 2014 general elections but also swept the state Assembly polls last year. However, this time, the party faces a new challenge as the SP contestants have the backing of BSP. UNI