NEW DELHI: The BJP-led NDA and the opposition’s INDIA bloc shared honours in the latest round of crucial bypolls on seven seats spread across six states. As the two groups gear up for the assembly elections in key states later this year and the next Lok Sabha polls, both have something to cheer, and also something to ponder.
The BJP won three assembly seats – two in Tripura and 1 in Uttarakhand – both states ruled by the saffron party.
BJP’s victory in Tripura is not just comprehensive but also significant as the bypoll saw a direct contest between the saffron party and the CPI. Two opposition parties, the Congress and the Tipra Motha, did not field candidates.
While the BJP retained the Dhanpur seat with a margin of nearly 19,000 votes, it won the Muslim-majority Boxanagar seat for the first time by an overwhelming majority of 30,237 votes.
In Uttarakhand, the party’s victory margin was 2405 votes. The results augur well for the ruling party in the two states as it prepares for the Lok Sabha battle against a united opposition.
For the INDIA parties – the bypolls had several winners. Four seats were won by four parties in four states – Congress won the Puthuppally seat in Kerala, JMM won the Dumri seat in Jharkhand, Trinamool Congress won the Dhupguri seat in West Bengal and the Samajwadi Party won the Ghosi seat in Uttar Pradesh.
On two of these seats the opposition had a common candidate, the model they plan to implement in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, on two others the allies fought against each other – something that they need to ponder as they gear up for the electoral battles ahead.
The biggest win for the opposition parties came in Uttar Pradesh where the SP candidate retained the Ghosi seat with the backing of other parties. SP’s Sudhakar Singh trounced BJP’s Dara Singh Chouhan by over 42,000 votes.
In Jharkhand also, the ruling JMM candidate backed by other opposition parties, managed a comprehensive win over the All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU), which is BJP’s ally in the state and part of the NDA.
However, West Bengal and Kerala saw the INDIA allies fighting against each other something that may not augur well as they move ahead.
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had to contest not just the BJP but also its INDIA ally – the CPI, which had the backing of the Congress.
The Trinamool candidate won against the BJP’s Tapasi Roy by a margin of 4309 votes even as the CPM candidate polled 13,758 votes. West Bengal will be a state to watch as the INDIA parties try to forge a united front. The state unit of the Congress and the Left are reluctant to join hands with the Trinamool. How the parties manage to come together for the Lok Sabha polls will be interesting to watch.
In Kerala, the Congress, which was fighting against the ruling CPM – its INDIA ally, scored a comprehensive victory, winning by 37,719 votes. The BJP, which has been trying hard to make inroads in the state, was a distant third polling just 6,558 votes. The BJP will have a lot to ponder if the saffron party hopes to gain significantly in the south.

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