New Delhi/Lucknow/Mumbai/Patna: In a big setback to the ruling BJP, the opposition parties on Thursday snatched 11 seats, limiting the saffron party and its allies to just three, out of the total four Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats across 11 states. BJP has won Palghar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra and Tharali assembly seat in Uttarakhand while its ally NDPP won the Nagaland Lok Sabha seat. This means BJP and its allies could win just 3 out of total 14 seats, the results of which were announced on Thursday. The results also point towards the strengthening of a non-BJP alliance in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the need for the saffron party to devise new strategies to counter the growing Opposition unity.
With prestige at stake in every single bypoll, the BJP was seen losing the high-profile Kairana Lok Sabha seat in politically important Uttar Pradesh to a united Opposition after a communally-charged election campaign. The situation was more or less similar in Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra where BJP was trounced. However, the BJP retained another Lok Sabha seat from Maharashtra, Palghar, where it had faced a challenge from its own ally Shiv Sena. BJP's Rajendra Gavit won the seat, defeating Shiv Sena's Shrinivas Wanaga by 29574 votes.
The fourth Lok Sabha seat, Nagaland, for which bypoll was held earlier this week, went in favour of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), a BJP allly in the north-eastern state.
While the Lok Sabha bypoll results appeared equally divided at 2-2 between the BJP-plus-allies and the opposition parties, figures for the 10 assembly bypolls came as a big setback for the ruling party which could manage just one (in Uttarakhand), while Congress bagged three (in Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab's Shahkot) and others got six -- JMM got two in Jharkhand, while CPI (M), SP, RJD and Trinamool one each in Kerala, UP, Bihar and West Bengal, respectively.
The results appeared more slanted against the BJP after taking into account the parties that had won these seats before bypolls were necessitated. While the BJP alliance was seen retaining two Lok Sabha seats - one in Maharashtra and another in Nagaland - it failed to retain two others - UP's Kairana and Maharashtra's Palghar. Similarly, in 10 assembly seats, the BJP and its allies failed to retain seats like Noorpur in UP and Shahkot in Punjab, while the opposition parties such as Congress, CPI (M), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Trinamool retained their respective seats.
The BJP retained Tharali assembly seat in Uttarakhand, but Samajwadi Party snatched Noorpur in neighbouring UP from the saffron party. SP's Naeemul Hasan cruised ahead of his nearest BJP rival Avni Singh to win this seat.
In Bihar, opposition RJD won Jokihat assembly seat by defeating BJP's ally JD(U) by a huge margin. The result was being seen as a big jolt to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who dumped the RJD and Congress last year to join hands with the BJP to form a new coalition government in Bihar.
Commenting on the results, senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said one has to take two steps backwards before a big leap.
Asked about the BJP's performance in these by-elections ahead of next year's general polls, Singh said, "For a massive leap, one always has to go two steps backwards." "We are going to take a massive leap," he added.
AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal latched onto the bypoll results to attack the BJP and said it reflects the anger against the Modi government.
The trends from UP showed the biggest electoral upset for the BJP with the joint opposition candidate, RLD's Tabassum Hasan, winning by a big margin in Kairana Lok Sabha constituency. The seat fell vacant following the death of the BJP candidate Mriganka Singh's father, Hukum Singh. Rashtriya Lok Dal's Tabassum Hasan, supported by the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, defeated Mriganka Singh right against whom she had taken an assailable lead from the beginning.
In Maharashtra, the BJP retained Palghar but was defeated in the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency, which the BJP had won in the 2014 elections.
BJP candidate Hemant Patel had to bite the dust in the Bhandara-Gondiya seat in the state with the NCP`s Madhukar Kukde snatching the constituency, which was won by the BJP in the 2014 poll. The Congress supported the NCP candidate in the current by poll. Kukde defeated Patel by over 45,000 votes.
The Congress has won one assembly seat in Maharashtra without any contest after all other parties withdrew their candidates.
Punjab's ruling Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi wrested the Shahkot assembly seat from the Shiromani Akali Dal, defeating the party's nominee Naib Singh Kohar with a margin of 38,801 votes, an election office spokesperson said. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hailed the Congress victory as a "vindication" of the government's people-centric policies, a rejection of the "negative" politics of SAD and "decimation" of AAP.
Trinamool's Dulal Das won Maheshtala assembly bypoll in West Bengal, defeating BJP's Sujit Kumar Ghosh by 62,827 votes.
Kerala's ruling CPI(M)-led LDF's Saji Cheriyan also won the Chengannur Assembly bypoll by a huge margin of 20,956 votes over his nearest Congress rival D Vijaykumar, while the BJP candidate came third.
JMM retained both Silli and Gomia assembly seats in Jharkhand. In Gomia, JMM's Babita Devi defeated AJSU nominee Lambodar Mahto by 13,00 votes while BJP's nominee Madhavlal Singh stood third on the seat.
In Silli, JMM's Seema Mahto defeated AJSU chief and former state Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto by 13,000 votes.
Here are some quick updates:-
Palghar Lok Sabha seat
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday retained Maharashtra`s Palghar Lok Sabha seat where it had faced the "hijacking" of the son of the late sitting MP Chintaman Vanga by its ruling ally, the Shiv Sena. Its candidate Rajendra Gavit won the seat.
Nagaland Lok Sabha seat
Out of the four Lok Sabha constituencies that voted on May 24, the Nagaland Lok Sabha constituency returned the candidate of the ruling Nagaland Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), a BJP ally, who defeated the Naga People's Front (NPF) candidate. NDPP candidate Tokheho Yepthomi defeated NPF's C Apok Jamir by 173,746 votes. NPF, a former BJP ally, had won the seat in 2014. In Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party was the representative of the lone Lok Sabha constituency in Nagaland. Rio, who represented this constituency, quit in February to contest in the assembly election. Rio is the Chief Minister of Nagaland.
Kairana Lok Sabha seat
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Tabassum Hasan has defeated Mriganka Singh of the BJP in Kairana Lok Sabha seat. Since the beginning of the counting, the RLD candidate had taken an unassailable lead of over 43,000 votes. Bharatiya Janata Party`s Mriganka Singh is the daughter of late sitting MP Hukum Singh. Samajwadi Party candidate Naimul Hasan won the Uttar Pradesh's Noorpur assembly seat with a clear margin of 6211 votes.
Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency
The candidate of Maharashtra`s ruling BJP was trailing by nearly 20,000 votes behind his NCP rival in the Bhandara-Gondiya constituency as counting progressed in the May 28 Lok Sabha bypolls here on Thursday. In the available vote-count figures at 3 p.m. in Bhandara-Gondiya, the Bharatiya Janata Party`s Hemant Patle, who was leading in the earlier rounds of counting, suddenly fell behind, lagging at around 188,000 votes, while the Nationalist Congress Party`s Madhukar Kukde remained ahead with a tally of over 208,000 votes.
Tharali assembly seat
Uttarakhand`s ruling BJP on Thursday retained the Tharali Assembly seat in the bypoll. Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) Munni Devi Shah won the seat, defeating her nearest Congress rival Jeet Ram by over 1,900 votes.
Gomia and Silli Assembly constituencies
The main opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Thursday won the bypolls to both the Gomia and Silli Assembly constituencies, a poll official said. In Silli, JMM candidate Seema Mahto defeated ruling ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) President Sudesh Mahto by 13,508 votes. She received 77,121 votes while Mahto secured 63,613 votes.
In Gomia, which the ruling alliance partners BJP and AJSU contested separately, JMM candidate Babita Devi won by 1,800 votes, defeated AJSU candidate Lambodar Mahto, while BJP`s Madavlal Singh came third.
Bengaluru's RR Nagar seat
Congress candidate Munirathna won from the Raja Rajeshwari (RR) Nagar Assembly constituency here by over 25,000 votes. "Munirathna won the election by over 25,000 votes after completion of all the 18 rounds of counting," Karnataka Joint Chief Electoral Officer KN Ramesh said. In the fiercely-fought contest, Munirathna retained the seat, defeating Tulasi Muniraju Gowda of the BJP and G.H. Ramachandra of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
Jokihat Assembly seat
The opposition RJD has wrested the Jokihat Assembly seat from the ruling JD-U in Bihar. RJD candidate Shahnawaz Alam won the seat by over 41,000 votes, officials said on Thursday. After trailing in the initial round of counting, the Rashtriya Janata Dal established a comfortable lead after 24 rounds.
Ampati Assembly seat, Meghalaya
The opposition Congress retained the Ampati Assembly seat in Meghalaya on Thursday by a margin of over 3,000 votes, officials said. With this victory, the Congress has increased its strength to 21 and emerged as the single largest party in the 60-member Meghalaya assembly.
The ruling National People`s Party which is heading the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government has 20 members and is supported by seven members of the United Democratic Party, four from People`s Democratic Front, two each from Bharatiya Janata Party and Hill State People`s Democratic Party, one Nationalist Congress Party besides two Independents.
West Bengal`s ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday retained the Maheshtala Assembly seat with an impressive margin, while the BJP took the second spot by displacing the CPI-M. Trinamool candidate Dulal Das trounced his nearest rival Bharatiya Janata Party`s Sujit Kumar Ghosh by 62,896 votes.
While Das bagged 1,04,818 votes, Ghosh received the support of 41,992 voters.
The counting of votes for bypolls of four high-stake Lok Sabha seats – Kairana, Bhandara-Gondia and Palghar and Nagaland parliamentary constituency – began at 8 am on Thursday. The results of these Lok Sabha constituencies are being seen as a precursor to the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Repolling at the four Lok Sabha constituencies took place on Wednesday, May 30. The voter turn-out in Kairana was 61 percent while Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha recorded 45 percent turnout and Nagaland 44.68 percent.
The bypolls in Kairana were necessitated after the seat fell vacant due to BJP leader Hukum Singh's death. Bypolls to Maharashtra's Palghar, a reserved seat, was necessitated following sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanga's death in January. In Bhandara-Gondia the bye-election was necessitated after BJP’s sitting lawmaker Nana Patole joined Congress in December 2017. In Nagaland, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party was the representative of the lone Lok Sabha constituency in Nagaland. He quit in February to contest in the Assembly elections.
(With Agency inputs)