Allahabad, Mar 7 - This district, once a political nerve centre of the country, is a microcosm example of how the two biggest national parties stumbled in UP polls, as most of the Congress and BJP candidates ended up forfeiting their deposits here.
The outcome in this district, which besides having the highest number of 11 seats in the state, is the birthplace of a number of stalwarts of the Congress and the BJP, may have come as a huge embarrassment to both the national parties.
The BJP put up a dismal show and was not manage to win even a single seat in the district, which has been home to sangh parivar heavyweights like former party president Murli Manohar Joshi, deceased RSS ideologue Rajju Bhaiya and former VHP supremo Ashok Singhal.
It was also a particularly dismal show for the Congress, which had kicked off its campaign for the Assembly polls with much fanfare on November 14, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, when Rahul Gandhi addressed his first election rally at a ground falling under Phulpur Lok Sabha seat which the country's first Prime Minister used to represent.
The party managed to retain only seat it had won in the 2007 assembly polls -- the predominantly urban Allahabad (North) where sitting MLA Anugrah Narayan Singh registered victory with a margin exponentially higher than in the previous elections.
However, the scene in the remaining 11 seats of the district was bleak. Nowhere was the party able to secure the second position nor could its candidates win one sixth of the total number of votes polled which is necessary to avoid forfeiture of deposit.
Many high-profile candidates suffered the same fate, including state Congress vice-president Shekhar Bahuguna who contested from Phaphamau and finished sixth.
Significantly, Bahuguna is the son of former UP Chief Minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna and the brother of UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi who has emerged victorious from Lucknow Cantt.
Similar has been the fate of former state minister Rajendra Tripathi and outgoing city Mayor Chaudhary Jitendranath Singh, both of whom finished fourth at Handia and Allahabad (South) respectively.
The Congress's reported strategy to concentrate on the reserved seats seems to have paid little dividend as the Congress failed to be in the reckoning in any of the three constituencies falling in the category.
BJP suffered its most humiliating defeat in Allahabad (South) where former assembly speaker Keshri Nath Tripathi got 33,399 votes, way behind the SP winner Haji Parvej Ahmed "Tanki" (43,040) and runner-up Nand Gopal Gupta "Nandi" (42,626), who was the sitting MLA and a minister in the Mayawati government.
However, Tripathi, along with Uday Bhan Karwaria (Allahabad North) and Tulsiram Rana (Koraon) was lucky enough to have escaped the humiliation of losing deposit, a fate which was met by its candidates at all the nine remaining seats.
The Samajwadi Party, which put up its best-ever show in the district, winning eight out of 12 seats, too ended up forfeiting deposits in three out of four seats it lost.
Former state minister Ujjwal Raman Singh, who lost to BSP Deepak Patel by a wafer-thin margin of 404 votes, was the only defeated SP candidate to have escaped the humiliation.
Interestingly, none of the candidates of the BSP received such a drubbing so as to lose deposit even though the party managed to win only three seats and was defeated in the remaining nine.
The party was the runner-up in eight out of nine seats where it tasted defeat.
It finished third in Handia, which was won by SP's Mahesh Narain Singh.
The second spot there was grabbed by Rakesh Dhar Tripathi of Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party, who was a minister in the Mayawati government but had left the BSP after being expelled from the cabinet on corruption charges and denial of a party ticket from the seat where he was the sitting MLA. PTI