DC Edit | TRS gains in Tâ€™gana, but bypolls retain status quo
The Indian voter is either in no mood to go in for big political change or they do not take by-elections seriously if one were to go by its latest results that came in for seven constituencies spread across five states in the four corners of the country on Sunday. Yet the voter cannot be faulted because the parties, too, were unwilling to take risks: All the winning candidates, except the one in Munugode in Telangana, are kin of those who represented the respective seat.
The most keenly watched election was Munugode which the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi wrested from the Congress after the latter’s sitting MLA quit and defected to the BJP. Interestingly, it will be a morale booster to both the winner and the runner-up. The TRS can boast of adding one seat to its kitty hardly one year ahead of the Assembly elections. As for the BJP, it can claim it has emerged as the main Opposition party, although it was helped by the defection of the sitting MLA. The loser is the Congress, as in most cases.
Bihar has seen too many political permutations and combinations in the last few years with the Janata Dal (United) of chief minister Nitish Kumar being an artful player.
However, the results in the by-elections seem to convey the idea that the voters have firmed up their political loyalties as they returned the RJD and the BJP candidates again to their seats, despite changes at the top. Interestingly, the winners are the life partners of the incumbents — in Mokama, it was the RJD’s Neelam Devi, who entered electoral politics after her husband, Anant Singh, was disqualified from the Legislative Assembly following his conviction in an arms recovery case, while Gopalganj was retained by the BJP’s Kusum Devi, whose participation was brought on by the demise of her husband and minister in the NDA Cabinet, Subhash Prasad Singh.
The RJD had won Mokama last time with the support of the JD(U). And the BJP successfully held on to its seat which it won on its own the last time. Mr Kumar and his allies need to work harder if they are to convince the Bihar voter that they offer a better option compared to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
In Odisha’s Dhamnagar, the BJP’s Suraj Sthitaprajana won the seat which fell vacant by the death of his father Bishnu Sethi.
The results of the Andheri East by-election, won by Rutuja Latke of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), will hardly be a game-changer in the state’s politics or in the fight between the Sena factions. Both the NDA allies, the BJP and the Sena faction of chief minister Eknath Shinde, had not fielded candidates in this constituency.
In Haryana, BJP’s Bhavya Bishnoi won the seat vacated by his father Kuldeep Bishnoi after he quit the Congress and joined the BJP. The direct fight between the BJP and the SP offered no different result in the Gola Gokarnnath seat either, when Aman Giri, the son of Arvind Giri whose death led to the bypoll, emerged victorious.
The world is worried about an impending recession which some economists predict will last longer than the one in 2008. Shortage of food articles makes headlines around the world. The Indian voter, however, seems to have insulated themselves from the political and economic interruptions elsewhere and continues, for better or for worse, on the beaten track.