BJP gets reality-check, wins just one seat in assembly bypolls
In a major setback, the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party secured only one seat in bypolls in 11 assembly constituencies. On the contrary, Congress put up a decent performance. The eleven seats that went to polls were Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh), Jokihat (Bihar), Tharali (Uttarakhand), Gomia and Silli (Jharkhand), Maheshtala (West Bengal), Ampati (Meghalaya), Palus Kadegaon (Maharashtra), Shahkot (Punjab), Chengannur (Kerala) and RR Nagar (Karnataka).
BJP's Munni Devi Shah defeated Congress' Jeetram in Tharali, retaining the seat for the saffron party. However, the lead was only of 1,900 votes, making it a forgettable victory for the party. In the 70-member state assembly, BJP has 57 leaders.
The Congress won four seats in the by-elections- Shahkot, RR Nagar, Ampati and Palus Kadegaon. Miani D Shira won in Ampati, making Congress the single-largest party. In RR Nagar, Congress candidate Muniratna defeated both BJP and JD(S). Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi won in Shahkot, while Vishwajeet Patangrao Kadam won unopposed in Palus Kadegaon.
Samajwadi Party's Naim Ul-Hasan defeated BJP's Avani Singh by 6,211 votes in Noorpur. The elections were necessitated after sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chouhan died. SP party president Akhilesh Yadav slammed BJP's politics and said the results are a reply to those who don't believe in democracy. Not only Noorpur, BJP also lost the prestigious Kairana Lok Sabha seat.
In Jokihat, the RJD fielded Shahnawaz Alam against JD(U)'s Murshid Alam and won by over 40,000 votes. The RJD's win in Nitish Kumar' constituency is a major blow for the latter. It is also sure to boost RJD's morale after JDU quit the grand alliance. Yadav Junior said, "Nitish Kumar was never able to understand Laluji, my father."
TMC candidate Dulal Das won the Maheshtala assembly seat by 62,827 votes, defeating BJP's Sujit Ghosh. CPI(M)-led LDF's Saji Cheriyan won Kerala's Chengannur seat by 20,000 votes. Congress' D Vijaykumar took the second position. In Jharkhand, both Silli and Gomia seats were retained by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. The party's Seema Mahto won in Silli, and Babita Devi in Gomia.
The defeat handed to BJP by regional parties and its arch-rival Congress in these bypolls hints it needs to reconsider strategy before 2019 general elections. After Karnataka (where BJP couldn't form a government) and these bypoll results, the party can't ignore a united Opposition's threats.