The Samajwadi Party has slipped into the lead as votes are counted in by-elections for Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur parliament seat, where a top official has barred the media from entering the counting centre in what is now a full-blown political controversy. The byelection generated a lot of interest with many experts viewing it as a rehearsal for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. The seat, represented by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for last five terms, is considered the saffron party's stronghold. Rautela said the media can not be allowed inside the counting centres as per Election Commission instructions.
After 11 rounds in Phulpur, Samajwadi Party's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel is leading by 15,733 votes.
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Around 1 pm, Samajwadi candidate Praveen Kumar Nishad was leading with 1,33,565 votes over BJP's Upendra Dutt Shukla after the ninth round of counting.
Interestingly, the two key opposition parties, the BSP and the SP, have come together to fight the Phulpur seat. At the same time in Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate Kaushlendra Singh Patel is also trailing in second place having received 47,631 votes.
In Gorakhpur, the Samajwadi Party was ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was earlier held by Chief Minister Adityanath.
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The UP government as well as the state BJP has prepared a long celebrations and programmes for the anniversary starting from March 18 next but the results which is slated to go against the party has dampen the spirit of the party rank and file.
In Phulpur, the poorest polling was reported from Allahabad (East) where only 21.65 percent voters turned up to exercise their franchise, followed by Allahabad (West) with 31 percent. Polling was held up at Kidwai College in Allahabad (East) for some time due to a technical glitch. The Congress had nominated Sureetha Kareem for Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra for Phulpur.
Mr Rautela told reporters, "You can shoot as much as you want". The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have extended support to the SP candidate.
CPI data due Tuesday
Central bankers were baffled for much of a year ago by the weakness of price pressures in the face of the continuing recovery. It expects gross value added - a key measure of growth - to increase 7.2 percent next fiscal year from 6.6 percent this year.
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