The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made a stunning comeback in Uttar Pradesh as it surged ahead in 67 of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats in Friday's vote count in the state. The party has gained unassailable leads in most of the constituencies and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi led Aam Aadmi Party's chief Arvind kejriwal in Varanasi by more than 100,000 votes, officials said.
As per the vote count so far, BJP president Rajnath Singh (Lucknow) and leaders Murli Manohar Joshi (Kanpur), Uma Bharti (Jhansi), Kalraj Mishra in Deoria and retired General VK Singh were ahead in their constituencies. Party leaders Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi also led in Pilibhit and Sultanpur respectively.
The Bharatiya Janata Party won just 10 seats from the state in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
State unit president Laxmikant Bajpayi said the results were on expected lines. He credited party workers and Modi for the astounding results.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi led in Rae Bareily and her son, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi maintained a margin of over 12,000 votes over his nearest rival, BJP's Smriti Irani, in Amethi.
The Congress led in only two seats in the state and it was pushed to a poor third in all other seats. The party won 22 seats in the 2009 polls.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) have been thrown off the political radar by the voters of the state. The ruling SP led in just seven seats, down by 15 seats as compared to its 2009 tally. The major constituencies where it is leading are Allahabad, Mainpuri, Azamgarh and Kannauj.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting from both Mainpuri and Muslim-dominated Azamgarh, senior party leader Reoti Raman Singh is contesting from Allahabad and Dimple Yadav, wife of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, is SP candidate from Kannauj.
The BSP seems to be facing the worst ever performance in its electoral history in recent past, with the party trailing in all seats.
According to the vote count in the first five hours, the BJP got 42.6% of the total votes polled, the SP got 23.9% and the BSP 19.3%. The Congress got only 7.3% of votes polled, while the AAP managed a bare 0.8% of the votes.
In case the BJP maintains its position, the saffron party will register its best ever performance in the state. In 1998, the party won 57 seats in an undivided Uttar Pradesh which then had 85 seats.