Bypolls results: Congress wins in Rajasthan; TMC in Bengal
It seems Congress's fortunes are changing. In Rajasthan, in a semi-final election of sorts before the state assembly polls, Congress won the LS constituency seats of Alwar and Ajmer and the Mandalgarh Assembly seat. In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress won both the Noapara Assembly constituency and Uluberia LS constituency. BJP came in second, followed by CPI(M) and Congress. Here's more about the bypolls.
What is the significance of these bypolls?
These bypolls were extremely crucial. In Rajasthan, BJP-led government's CM Vasundhara Raje and Congress's state chief Sachin Pilot campaigned aggressively. Pilot aimed to boost Congress's morale after consecutive losses and Raje faced an anti-incumbency. In Bengal, Trinamool CM Banerjee faced a prestige battle, fighting against one-time confidant Mukul Roy, who defected to BJP. For BJP, it was a litmus test, before setting ambitious targets.
What was Congress's strategy in Rajasthan?
For Congress, Ajmer was particularly a prestige battle for Pilot, who represented the constituency in LS during 2009-2014. Otherwise, they are trying a social-engineering experiment, which might be continued for Assembly polls. They are banking on Gujjar and Rajput voters. Gujjars have been protesting against the ruling BJP for reservation. Rajputs are angry about the Padmaavat issue and notorious gangster Anandpal Singh's encounter.
In Uluberia, BJP's masterstroke hasn't worked
With TMC winning decisively, BJP's mechanism to enter Mamata's bastion didn't work. Uluberia has 45% Muslim population. Among mainstream parties, only they fielded a Hindu candidate. They were hoping that Muslim votes will be divided among CPI(M), Congress and Trinamool, leaving Hindu votes entirely for BJP. They also had triple-talaq petitioner Ishrat Jahan campaign for them to woo "progressive Muslims."
What do the results indicate?
Congress's straight win in Rajasthan will surely rattle BJP. CM Vasundhara Raje might face internal dissent and party leadership's ire for the debacle. This is especially significant because of the upcoming Assembly elections possibly in November'18. Further, Rajasthan's 25 LS seats will be crucial in 2019 elections. Despite BJP emerging as its major challenger, TMC's formidable win showed who is the boss in Bengal.