BJP’s string of bypoll losses continues

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. The BJP has suffered electoral reverses in all the three rounds of bypolls held after the Lok Sabha polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. The BJP has suffered electoral reverses in all the three rounds of bypolls held after the Lok Sabha polls.   | Photo Credit: PTI

BJP loses 13 of the 24 seats held by it, cedes ground to SP in U.P., and Congress in Rajasthan and Gujarat

The BJP on Tuesday suffered a major blow in the Assembly by-elections in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the States it had swept in the Lok Sabha polls four months ago, losing 13 of the 24 seats held by it.

The BJP has suffered electoral reverses in all the three rounds of by-elections held after it swept the Lok Sabha polls four months ago.

The saffron party, which got majority on its own in the Lok Sabha riding a “Modi wave”, has got a rude shock in the third round of by-elections, losing ground in key states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home State of Gujarat.

Out of the 32 Assembly seats across nine States for which counting of votes was taken up on Tuesday, BJP won 10, Congress seven and Samajwadi Party seven while the TDP, the Trinamool Congress, the AIUDF and the CPI(M) bagged one each. One seat in Sikkim was won by an Independent. In three seats in UP where results were awaited, the BJP was leading in two and Samajwadi Party in one.

It was Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP was on a high after a near-total sweep of the 80 Lok Sabha seats, that delivered a humiliating blow to the saffron party as it lost seven of the 11 seats held by it, including one held by its ally Apna Dal.

The BSP’s absence in the by-elections had made it a virtual straight fight between the SP and the BJP in the politically crucial State.

Equally crushing was the defeat in Rajasthan where BJP conceded three of the four seats to the Congress, which also managed to wrest three of the nine seats in Gujarat, where the elections were held for the first time in 12 years with Mr. Modi at the helm.

All the seats in Uttar Pradesh (11), Gujarat (9) and Rajasthan (4) were held by the BJP and the bypolls were necessitated after the MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha.

The first bypolls were held in Congress-ruled Uttarakhand close on the heels of the May 16 Lok Sabha verdict. The outcome had shocked the BJP as the Congress had won all the three Assembly seats including two seats which were held by former BJP Chief Ministers who were elected to Lok Sabha by comfortable margins.

The second round saw the party losing six out of the 10 seats in Bihar, despite a formidable show in the Lok Sabha polls.

Seat adjustments among arch rivals — JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar and RJD’s Lalu Prasad besides the Congress — forced the BJP to beat a retreat as the three parties together won six seats.

As the BJP again suffered reverses in the Assembly bypolls, the Opposition said that the results should ring alarm bells for the BJP and the Modi government.

This meant that an anti-incumbency factor has set in within 100 days of the Narendra Modi government coming to power, Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed said.

“If you look at these results, these bypolls have proved to be bye-bye polls for the BJP,” NCP general secretary D.P. Tripathi remarked.

The bypoll results have come as a shot in the arm for the Congress as it gained three seats each in Gujarat and Rajasthan after drawing a blank in Lok Sabha polls.

Gloating over the BJP’s reverses, the Congress and the SP called it as a defeat of the communal forces. They said people had rejected the Modi government and the BJP’s “politics of polarisation”.

The BJP, which is hoping to do well in the coming Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, conceded that the bypoll results were not up to its expectations and said that people had voted on local issues.

The only solace for the BJP on an otherwise dismal day was its entry into the West Bengal Assembly.

BJP candidate Shamik Bhattacharya won the Basirhat Dakshin seat in North 24-parganas district by a margin of 1,742 votes against his nearest Trinamool Congress rival and former Indian soccer captain Dipendu Biswas. The seat was earlier held by the CPI(M).

The BJP retained the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, vacated by Mr. Modi, albeit with a reduced margin. Ranjanben Bhatt thumped her Congress rival Narendra Rawat by over 3.29 lakh votes. Mr. Modi had won the seat by 5.7 lakh votes.

In the other two Lok Sabha by-elections, Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, the stronghold of the ruling SP, Tej Pratap Singh, the grand nephew of Mulayam Singh Yadav, defeated the BJP’s Prem Singh Skahkya by a margin of more than 3.21 lakh votes.

Mr. Yadav had vacated the seat after he chose to retain Azamgarh.

In Medak Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, the ruling TRS retained the seat vacated by party chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Its candidate K. Prabhakar Reddy won by 3,61,277 votes.

In Uttar Pradesh, out of 11 Assembly seats, the SP won seven seats and the BJP one. In Gujarat, the BJP won six seats and the Congress three, while in Rajasthan the Congress bagged three and the BJP one. In Andhra Pradesh, the ruling TDP retained the Nandigama seat.

In West Bengal, the Trinamool and the BJP won one seat each. The BJP also made other advances in eastern region wresting Silchar constituency in Assam from the Congress. The All India United Democratic Front and the ruling Congress retained Jamunamukh and Lakhipur seats respectively in the State.

The CPI(M) won the Manu (ST) Assembly constituency in Tripura while Independent candidate R.N. Chamling, brother of Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, won Rangang-Yangang Assembly seat in Sikkim by 708 votes defeating his nearest Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) nominee.

Last month, the saffron party suffered a 4-6 defeat at the hands of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance in Bihar and yielded two strongholds to the Congress in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh in the by-elections. In July, it lost all the three Assembly seats in Uttarakhand to the Congress in the by-elections.

In U.P., while the SP won Bijnor, Thakurdwara, Nighasan, Hamirpur, Charkhari, Sirathu, Balha and Rohaniya assembly seats, BJP won Saharapur (city seat), Lucknow East and Noida.

Charkhari was earlier held by Union Minister Uma Bharati and Lucknow East by Union Ministers Kalraj Mishra.

In Gujarat, the BJP lost Dessa, Mangrol and Khambalia seats to the Congress. It managed to retain Maninagar, Tankara, Talaja, Anand, Kheda and Limkheda Assembly seats.

In Rajasthan, the BJP lost in Nasirabad, Weir and Surajgarh Assembly constituencies. It retained Kota city.

In West Benagl, whereas Trinamool Congress bagged the prestigious Chowringhee seat. The TMC candidate Nayana Bandopadhyay won by a margin of 14,344 votes against her nearest rival BJP’s Ritesh Tiwari.

The AIDUF’s Abdur Rahim Ajmal won the Jamunamukh seat defeating Congress’ Bashir Uddin Laskar by 22,959 votes in Assam.

The AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal’s son Abdur Rahim Ajmal retained the seat polling 62,153 votes.

The ruling Congress retained Lakhipur seat as its candidate Rajdeep Goala defeated his nearest BJP rival Sanjay Thakur by 9172 votes garnering 40,090 votes, while Thakur got 30918 votes. In Silchar, however, BJP’s Dilip Kumar Paul won.

Ruling Telugu Desam Party’s Tangirala Sowmya won the Nandigama Assembly bypoll in Andhra Pradesh by 74,827 votes.

Riding on the sympathy wave, Sowmya, a software engineer, got 99,748 votes. The by-election was necessitated following the death of Ms. Sowmya’s father due to a cardiac arrest.

CPI(M) candidate Prabhat Chowdhury trounced the Congress candidate Mailafru Mog in Manu (ST) constituency in Tripura.

The constituency fell vacant after former Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury was elected to the Lok Sabha.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 2:26:27 PM |

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