The ruling parties/alliances in West Bengal, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh on Saturday won bypolls to one Lok Sabha and three Assembly seats while Bihar witnessed the principal Opposition party winning the lone Assembly seat up for grabs.
While the Trinamool Congress (TMC) made a clean sweep in West Bengal, wresting a Lok Sabha seat from the BJP and retaining its Assembly seat, the Congress won one Assembly seat each in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
In Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) wrested the Bochahan Assembly seat from the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The Bharatiya Janata Party drew a blank in the first set of bypolls held after the resumption of regular hikes in petrol, diesel and gas prices.
In West Bengal, actor–turned politician Shatrughan Sinha defeated BJP’s Agnimitra Paul by 3,03,209 votes in the Asansol Lok Sabha seat. The seat had fallen vacant after Union Minister Babul Supriyo quit the BJP to join the Trinamool and resigned from his seat in September 2021. In 2019, he had won the seat by 1.97 lakh votes on a BJP ticket defeating TMC’s Moon Moon Sen.
Mr. Supriyo, who was nominated from the prestigious Ballygunge Assembly constituency, defeated CPI(M)‘s Saira Shah Halim by a margin of 20,228 votes, with BJP’s Keya Ghosh managing to secure just 13,220 votes. The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of State Minister Subrata Mukherjee last year.
Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee described the results as a gift in the Bengali New Year that began on April 15.
“I sincerely thank the electors of the Asansol Parliamentary Constituency and the Ballygunge Assembly Constituency for giving decisive mandate to AITC party candidates. We consider this to be our people’s warm Shubho Nababarsho gift to our Ma-Mati-Manush organization. Salute to the voters for reposing faith in us, yet again,” she said.
While Mr Sinha expressed his gratitude to the people of Asansol and the TMC chief, BJP State president Sukanta Majumdar said the ruling party in the State generally wins byelections.
The ruling coalition in Maharashtra, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) too got a boost as the Congress retained the Kolhapur North Assembly constituency by defeating the BJP. Congress-MVA candidate Jayashri Jadhav defeated BJP’s Satyajeet Kadam by over 18,000 votes. The bypoll was necessitated because of the death of sitting Congress MLA Chandrakant Jadhav due to Covid in December 2021.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole termed the party’s win as “victory of progressive thoughts”.
In Chhattisgarh, Congress candidate Yashoda Verma defeated Komal Janghel of the BJP in the Khairagarh Assembly seat by over 20,176 votes. While the strength of the Congress in the 90-member Assembly went up to 71, the opposition BJP suffered a fourth successive defeat in Assembly bypolls held after the 2018 elections in the State.
The bypoll, necessitated by the death of incumbent Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA Devvrat Singh in November 2021, was seen as a prestige battle between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his predecessor and BJP veteran, Dr Raman Singh. The victory will also give an edge to Mr. Baghel, who has been facing a leadership challenge from Health Minister T.S. Singhdeo over the issue of rotating the chief ministerial position.
In a tweet, Mr Baghel, said, “The victory has taught a lesson to those who believe in trading hate to win elections”.
In NDA-ruled Bihar, the RJD wrested the Bochahan Assembly seat by defeating the BJP nominee by a big margin of over 35,000 votes. In 2020, Musafir Paswan had won the seat on the ticket of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) that was an ally of the NDA about a month ago. The seat fell vacant following the death of Mr Paswan.
While the RJD fielded his son, Amar Paswan, the BJP and VIP put up separate candidates. The allies parted ways after three MLAs of VIP joined the BJP and Mr. Sahani was sacked as a minister in the Nitish Kumar government.