New Delhi: The BJP popularity took a hit in the bypolls that was conducted in two Parliamentary and 51 Assembly seats across 17 states even though the saffron party and its allies grabbed 30 seats.
In the Assembly bypolls, BJP alone took 14 and Congress bagged 12 but the bypolls sprang a few surprises in Bihar and Gujarat.
The states that strongly backed BJP were Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim. The BJP had an upper hand in UP where 7 out of 11 seats went to it and another one went to its ally Apna Dal (S) while the SP bagged 3.
The counting in the state saw some high drama on Thursday with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi accusing the UP government for manipulating the counting in Gangoh Assembly seat where Congress’ Noman Masood lost to BJP’s Kirat Singh by over 5,000 votes.
However, an upbeat UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies for this victory.
In Bihar, where JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar is hoping for his fourth term in 2020, the BJP and its ally seems to be losing ground as it managed only 1 out of the five Assembly seats where bypolls took place while Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) got 2.
Gujarat results were also surprising as both the Congress and the BJP got 3 each out of 6 seats that went for bypolls. Among the prominent defeat was that of OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who had jumped from Congress to BJP’s side. Thakore was an MLA from Radhanpur on Congress seat since 2017 before he quit the party to join BJP after differences with state party leadership. He was defeated by Raghubhai Desai by 3,807 votes.
In Punjab, the Congress bagged 3 out of 4 seats and lost one to Shiromani Akali Dal in Dakha which fell vacant following the resignation of former AAP leader H.S. Phoolka.
The BJP also had an advantage in Assam where National Register of Citizens in a burning issue, as it got 3 out of 4 seats while AIUDF got 1. In Himachal Pradesh where BJP has a government in place, the party bagged both seats while in Sikkim, BJP had it first ever electoral victory by taking 2 out 3 seats in bypoll while the other went to its ally and the Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.
In Meghalaya, United Democratic Party retained its Shella Assembly candidate after the by election was necessitated due to the death of UDP president Donkupar Roy.
Out of the two parliamentary bypolls, both Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Lok Jan Shakti Party retained their seats in Satara (Maharashtra) and Samastipur (Bihar). In Satara, BJP’s Udayanraje Bhosale lost to NCP candidate.
The Samastipur seat was taken by Prince Raj whose father Ram Chandra Paswan had won the seat in the Lok Sabha elections in May for the second consecutive time.
The seat fell vacant following his death. Ram Chandra Paswan was the brother of LJSP chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
In Odisha, Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, ruling the state since 2000 once again proved invincible as his party candidate Rita Sahu defeated the BJP’s Sanat Gadtia by a record margin of 97,994 votes....