In the first litmus test for political parties after the recent Lok Sabha polls, honours were even as the Congress and its allies on Friday won nine of the 17 seats in Assembly byelections spread over five States.
The win for the Congress and its allies was largely helped by the boycott of the Opposition AIADMK and its partners in Tamil Nadu where the DMK bagged three seats — Cumbum, Burgur and Ilayankudi. The remaining two seats — Srivaikuntam and Thondamuthur — went to the Congress.
The BSP put up a good showing in Uttar Pradesh and it was a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Mayawati with the ruling party winning three seats — Moradabad, Malihabad and Bidhuna — while Ajit Singh’s RLD retained Morena.
The Samajwadi Party was the worst sufferer in U.P. as it not only failed to win a single seat but yielded two seats to the BSP as well.
Fresh from a spectacular showing in the Lok Sabha polls, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, a UPA ally, continued to hold sway in West Bengal; it won both Bowbazar and Sealdah seats earlier held by the Congress, which did not field any candidate this time.
The Congress’s dismal performance in BJP-ruled Karnataka, where by-elections were held for five seats, continued. It was able to retain only Govindarajanagar of the four seats it held, but had the consolation of seeing the defeat of Housing Minister V. Somanna, who defected from the Congress before the Lok Sabha polls.
The blow for the Congress was hard in Chitapur where Priyanka Kharge, son of Union Labour Minister M. Mallikarjun Khage, lost to the BJP’s Valmiki Nayak.
The JD(S) won two seats — retaining Ramnagara and wresting Chennapatna from the Congress — and the BJP too bagged two. Besides Chitapur, the saffron party won Kollegal.
The BJP’s strength in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly will now go up to 117.
In West Bengal, Shikha Mitra and Swarno Kamal Saha (both Trinmaool) won Sealdah and Bowbazar respectively.