New Delhi: Tremors were felt in the saffron camp as an united Opposition decimated the BJP in the high-profile Kairana Lok Sabha constituency and Noorpur Assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh. Of the four Lok Sabha bypolls, the BJP won only one — Palghar in Maharashtra. Similarly, of the 11 Assembly seats that went to the polls, the BJP could score only a lone victory in the Tharali Assembly seat in Uttarakhand.
While the Congress finished third in the Palghar bypoll, the party managed to win four Assembly seats, including Shahkot (Punjab), Palus Kadegaon (Maharashtra), Ampati (Meghalaya) and R.R. Nagar (Karnataka). At Palus Kadegaon, the Congress candidate won unopposed as the BJP withdrew its candidate. It may be recalled that since 2014, the BJP has managed to win only four of the 23 Lok Sabha bypolls that have been held.
The Janata Dal (United), which had crossed over to the NDA, on Thursday cautioned the BJP against the united power of the Opposition parties. JD(U) spokesperson K.C. Tyagi told the media that the NDA allies were “feeling isolated”. In Kairana, Tabassum Hasan, the RLD candidate supported by the entire Opposition, including the Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress, won the high-stakes Lok Sabha battle, and became the first Muslim MP from Uttar Pradesh since the 2014 general election. She trounced the BJP’s Mriganka Singh by a margin of 44,618 votes.
It may be recalled that the campaign in Kariana was communally charged.
Four days before the bypoll in Kairana, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had raised the issue of the Muzaffarnagar riots and urged people not to give “antisocial” elements the opportunity to trigger riots in western Uttar Pradesh.
The other major blow was the BJP’s defeat in the Noorpur Assembly seat in the state. SP candidate Naim Ul-Hasan, supported by an united Opposition, trounced the BJP’s Avni Singh by a margin of over 6,000 votes.
While the saving grace for the BJP was its lone victory in the Palghar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra, its ally NDPP managed a home run in Nagaland’s lone Lok Sabha seat. In Maharashtra, as the BJP romped home defeating the Shiv Sena candidate in the Palghar Lok Sabha seat, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackrey launched a scathing attack on its ally. Indicating that the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance at this juncture hangs by a thread, Mr Thackeray slammed its ally by saying that the “BJP doesn’t need its friends and allies any more”. He further pointed out that the “BJP has lost its majority in the Lok Sabha”.
Another body blow was delivered to the ruling BJP in Jharkhand, where the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha backed by non-BJP outfits retained both the Assembly berths - Gomia and Silli. In Silli, Seema Mahto wife of outgoing JMM MLA Amit Mahto, defeated her nearest rival, party president of AJSU (a BJP ally in the state) Sudesh Mahto by a margin of 13,508 votes. In Gomia, JMM candidate Babita Devi also retained the berth by defeating AJSU candidate Lambodar Mahto by a narrow margin on 1,355 votes....