New Delhi: In the first litmus test for
political parties after the recent Lok Sabha polls, honours
were even as Congress and its allies on Friday won nine of the 17
seats in assembly by-polls spread over five states.
The win for the Congress and its allies was largely
helped by the boycott of opposition AIADMK and its partners in
Tamil Nadu where the DMK bagged three seats--Cumbum, Burgur
and Ilayankudi. The remaining two seats-- Srivaikuntam and
Thondamuthur went to the Congress.
BSP put up a good showing in Uttar Pradesh and it was a
shot in the arm for Chief Minister Mayawati with the ruling
party winning three seats--Moradabad, Malihabad and Bidhuna
while Ajit Singh`s RLD retained Morena.
Samajwadi party was the worst sufferer in UP as it not
only failed to win a single seat but yielded two seats to BSP.
Fresh from a spectacular showing in the Lok Sabha polls,
Mamata Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress, a UPA ally, continued to
hold sway in West Bengal which won both Bowbazar and Sealdah
seats earlier held by Congress, which did not field any
candidate this time.
Congress`s dismal performance in BJP-ruled Karnataka,
where by-elections were held for five seats, continued. It was
able to retain only Govindarajanagar of the four seats it held
but had the consolation of seeing the defeat of Housing
minister V Somanna, who defected from the Congress before the
Lok Sabha polls.
The blow for Congress was hard in Chitapur where
Priyanka Kharge, son of Union Labour Minister M Mallikarjun
Khage, lost to BJP`s Valmiki Nayak.
JD-S won two seats -- retaining Ramnagara and wresting
Chennapatna from Congress -- and BJP too bagged two. Besides
Chitapur, the saffron party won Kollegal.
BJP`s strength in the 224-member Karnataka assembly will
now go up to 117 and that of JD-S to 27 while Congress tally
will decline to 74.
In West Bengal Shikha Mitra and Swarno Kamal Saha (both
Trinmaool) won Sealdah and Bowbazar respectively.
In Tamil Nadu, actor-politician Vijaykant`s fledgling
DMDK failed to live up to the image it sought to project as an
alternative to the principal Dravidian parties -- DMK and
AIADMK -- and had to be content with the runners-up position
in Cumbum seat.
Today`s victory has pushed up DMK`s strength in the
234-member Assembly to 98 and that of Congress, supporting it
from outside, to 35.
DMK President and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi attributed
the performance to achievements of the UPA Government and his
government in the state.
He said the people had rejected the AIADMK`s boycott call
and credited the victory to the hard work by his partymen.