Byelection results point to an anti-BJP churning

Published : November 02, 2021 22:05 IST

Pratibha Singh (centre), the winning Congress candidate in the byelection to the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency, celebrates her victory, in Shimla on November 2. Photo: PTI

The results of the byelections to three Lok Sabha seats and 30 Assembly constituencies across different parts of India, which were held on October 30, were broadly a mixed bag, but in their essence they signified the anti-BJP, anti-Centre mood that is building up in northern and western India. Of the three parliamentary constituencies that went to the polls, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) lost the Mandi seat in Himachal Pradesh as well as the Dadra and Nagar Haveli seat in Daman and Diu while managing to retain Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. The Shiv Sena’s win in Dadra and Nagar Haveli was termed by party leader Sanjay Raut as a “giant leap” towards Delhi.

Among the Assembly seats, the Congress won in all the three Himachal Pradesh seats and two Rajasthan seats. However, the BJP retained its newfound sway in Assam, winning all the five seats there along with its allies . Most spectacular were the victory margins of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal with huge margins. Udayan Guha won the Dinhata seat, previously held by the BJP, by a margin of 1,63,005 votes. Similarly, the TMC’s Subrata Mondal won the Gosaba Assembly seat by a massive margin of 1,43,051 votes. The TMC also won in the Khardah and Santipur Assembly segments by a margin of 93,832 and 64,675 votes. In Rajasthan, the Congress did well winning the Dhariawad and Vallabhnagar Assembly constituencies with the margins of 18,725 and 20,606 votes. It also reclaimed Madhya Pradesh’s Raigaon, a traditional BJP seat, after a gap of 31 years, besides bagging one seat each in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The anti-BJP churning in northern India was underscored also by the victory of Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) Abhay Chautala in the Ellenabad. He returned as MLA, after resigning in protest against the Union government’s farm laws which farmers unions have been protesting against for nearly an year. He had resigned on January 27 “listening to the appeal made by the farmers”, who had asked all MLAs of Haryana to resign if they were their “genuine well-wishers”. This move made a significant impact in the largely rural constituency, which is already considered a stronghold of the Chautala clan.

However, the BJP got Jobat and the Prithvipur Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP also wrested Telangana’s Huzurabad from the ruling Telengana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). In Bihar, the ruling Janata Dal (U) retained the Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur Assembly seats. The Congress suffered reverses in Meghalaya as the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance clinched all three Assembly seats, wresting Rajabala and Mawryngkneng seats from the Congress.

The verdict from Karnataka had also a special message for BJP. In quantitative terms it was a win and a loss for the party in Karnataka byelections but the loss was more significant since it was in the newly elevated Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s home ground of Haveri.

Though Bhusanur Ramesh Balappa of the BJP won against Ashok Malappa of the Congress in Sindagi by a margin of 31,185 votes, the BJP’s Shivaraj Sajjanar lost to the Congress candidate Srinivas Mane by a margin of 7,426 votes in Hanagal in Haveri. Winning Hanagal was crucial for Bommai to emerge as the tallest leader in Karnataka, especially after B.S. Yediyurappa was removed to make him Chief Minister. Evidently, a number of factors including the impact of the farmers agitation are creating a anti-Modi government mood in several parts of India. That’s undoubtedly a key message from the byelections.

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