NEW DELHI: It was not only in Karnataka that the Congress faced a humiliating defeat: the party got a drubbing in the by-elections to three Lok Sabha constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Meghalaya. The party managed to save face in Haryana where it won in two out of three Assembly constituencies, but lost an Assembly by-election in Punjab.
The Bharatiya Janata Party extended its winning spree in Karnataka to other parts of the country as well, with the party and its alliance partner, the Shiv Sena, emerging as a winning combination. The party posted thumping victories in the Hamirpu and Thane parliamentary seats in Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. The Nationalist Congress Party’s candidate, Agatha K. Sangma, daughter of nine-time MP and former Lok Sabha Speaker, Purno Agitok Sangma, romped home from the Tura Lok Sabha seat in Meghalaya with a margin of nearly one lakh votes. The 27-year-old Ms. Agatha, a Delhi-based lawyer, trounced Congress nominee Zenith Sangma by a huge margin of 99,855 votes.
Maintaining its winning streak in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP’s young turk, Anurag Thakur, son of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, romped home with a record margin. Mr. Thakur trounced his nearest Congress rival, O.P. Rattan by 1,74,666 votes. Mr. Dhumal’s son polled 3,74,339 votes against Mr. Rattan’s 1,99,673.
On the other hand, the Shiv Sena’s candidate, Anand Paranjpe, humbled the NCP’s Sanjeev Naik, son of Maharashtra Minister Ganesh Naik, by 90,872 votes in the Thane Lok Sabha by-election. Mr. Anand, son of Sena MP Prakash Paranjpe whose death necessitated the by-election, polled 4,62,766 votes against Mr. Naik’s 3,71,894.
In the three Assembly by-elections in Haryana, the newly-floated Haryana Janhit Congress headed by the former MP, Kuldeep Bishnoi, opened its account, bagging the Adampur seat from the Congress. The ruling party retained Indri and Gohana seats. In this constituency, the septuagenarian Bhajan Lal defeated his nearest Congress rival, Ranjit Singh, by a margin of over 26,188 votes. In the Indri Assembly by-election, Congress nominee Bhim Sen Mehta defeated Rakesh Kamboj by a margin of 5,865 votes. The Congress bagged the Gohana seat in Sonepat district, with its candidate Jagbir Singh Malik humbling his nearest INLD rival, K.C. Bangar, by 22,162 votes.
In Punjab, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal maintained its sway over the Amritsar South Assembly seat winning it by a margin of over 22,000 votes. The party’s candidate, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, trounced his nearest Congress rival, Navdeep Singh Goldy, by a margin of 22, 233 votes.