BJP suffers poll reverses in 3 states, enters Bengal

Jaipur/Lucknow/Ahmedabad/Kolkata (IANS): The BJP Tuesday suffered major reverses in the assembly byelections in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat that saw the Congress and the Samajwadi Party bounce back, even as the ruling party at the Centre won a significant victory by getting a lawmaker into the West Bengal assembly after a 15-year hiatus.

This is the third time that the Bharatiya Janata Party has suffered reverses in bypolls since the Narendra Modi government came to power riding on the back of a massive mandate in the April-May general election.

The election results, which have led the jubilant Congress to declare that the Modi wave is over, also come as the BJP-led government completed 100 days in power.

In Uttar Pradesh, the ruling Samajwadi Party made a stunning comeback as it won eight of the 11 assembly seats that went for byelections. It also retained the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat which was vacated by party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The only consolation for the BJP that had won all these 11 seats with its ally Apna Dal in the 2012 assembly polls were its victories in Noida, Saharanpur City and Lucknow East.

In Gujarat, where Modi was chief minister for around 13 years till he came to the centre, the BJP won six assembly seats, while the Congress won three.

The BJP also won the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat by over 300,000 votes.

Bypolls were held for nine assembly seats – Maninagar, Deesa, Tankara, Khambhalia, Mangrol, Talaja, Anand, Matar and Limkheda – and the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat Sep 13.

The Congress won Deesa, Khambhalia and Mangrol assembly seats, while the remaining six went to the BJP.

The Vadodara parliamentary seat was retained by the BJP after deputy mayor Ranjanben Bhatt won against Congress candidate Narendra Rawat by over 300,000 votes.

The seat was vacated by Modi after he was elected to parliament from two places, including Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

For the BJP, the reversal in fortune was most stark in Rajasthan, where the Congress won three of the four assembly seats while the ruling BJP won only one seat.

The Congress won from Weir, Surajgarh and Nasirabad while the BJP won the Kota South seat.

The West Bengal victory for the BJP, though a slender one, was most significant as the party after 15 long years will now have a representative in the assembly.

The BJP’s Shamik Bhattacharya won from Basirhat (South) while the ruling Trinamool retained the Chowringhee seat.

Bhattacharya defeated Trinamool candidate and former Indian soccer captain Dipendu Biswas by a slender margin of 1,586 votes.

The contest turned out a cliff-hanger as Bhattacharya trailed till the penultimate 10th round, but more than made up for the deficit in the final one.

The victory made the BJP assert that it has come up as an alternative in West Bengal and the results were a reflection of people’s discontent for the Trinamool Congress and its lack of governance.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) continued its poor show in the state, finishing third while the Congress was fourth.

In Assam, the BJP, Congress and Lok Sabha member Badaruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF party won one assembly seat each.

The BJP snatched the Silchar assembly constituency from the Congress, while the ruling Congress retained the Lakhipur seat, and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) retained the Jamunamukh seat in Nagaon district.

In Andhra Pradesh, the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) retained the Nandigama assembly seat by a huge majority. In Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) retained the Medak Lok Sabha seat, though with a lesser majority compared to the general elections.

In Sikkim, the lone Rangang-Yangang assembly seat was won by seat Independent candidate R.N. Chamling, Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling’s brother.

In Tripura, the ruling CPI-M retained its seat in the Manu (ST) assembly constituency, defeating the Congress in the bypoll.

Results of 32 assembly seats across nine states were declared Tuesday.

Reacting to the emphatic win of his party in the bypolls, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav termed it a victory of development and prosperity and said the people have rejected the communal brand of politics of the BJP.

State BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai conceded defeat and said the party will have to take stock of the reasons for its loss.

“The responsibility of defeat is mine and on my team. The reasons behind the defeat will be reviewed. It has given us a lesson for the Vidhan Sabha polls,” Bajpai said.

The Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat was won by Tej Pratap Singh, grand-nephew of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who defeated his BJP rival Prem Singh Shakya by over 3.21 lakh votes.

The Rajasthan unit of the Congress was jubilant over winning three of the four seats.

The party was decimated in the 2013 assembly elections, managing just 21 of the 200 assembly seats. The BJP had swept to power winning 163 seats.

The results take the BJP’s tally to 160 and the Congress strength has risen to 24.

The Congress Tuesday said the results of the bypolls were a good signal for it and reflected that people were rejecting the policies of the BJP.

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said the party had done well in Rajasthan and Gujarat though it did not perform to expectations in Uttar Pradesh.

“The results, we feel, are good indications for the Congress and other parties that have won. These are bad indication for the BJP and its policies have, in a way, been rejected by people,” Ahmed said.

He said people of Uttar Pradesh rejected the policies of the BJP aimed at “spreading hate”.

In the first round of the bypolls held in Uttarakhand after the general elections, the Congress had won all the three assembly seats, while in the second round of bypolls, the BJP had lost six of the 10 assembly seats in Bihar.