Home Politics Bihar still a nailbiter, but BJP leads bypolls in 11 states, ahead...

Bihar still a nailbiter, but BJP leads bypolls in 11 states, ahead of rivals in 40 of 58 seats

These elections assume significance as they are the first to be held amid the pandemic, with BJP leaders telling ThePrint that the BJP’s performance is an endorsement of PM Modi’s Covid handling. 

Neelam Pandey
Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: ANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi | ANI File photo

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maybe in a close fight with the RJD in Bihar, but it appears to have consolidated its lead in most of the 11 states where assembly bypoll results were announced Tuesday.

These include Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Manipur, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Trends as of Tuesday evening indicate the BJP is leading in 40 of the 58 seats that held bypolls earlier this month. However, in Haryana, BJP candidate and Olympic medalist Yogeshwar Dutt lost the lone bypoll to Congress candidate Indu Raj. In Jharkhand, the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-Congress coalition retained both seats where bypolls were held. The JMM won the Dumka constituency while the Congress won Bermo. 

These elections assume significance as they are the first to be held amid the pandemic, with BJP leaders telling ThePrint that the party’s performance is an endorsement of PM Narendra Modi’s Covid handling as well as the welfare measures the central government rolled out. 

The opposition has been critical of the Modi government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the economic package offered by it to revive the economy. 

These results are also significant as they come after a string of losses that the BJP suffered in a few assembly elections beginning May 2018, including Karnataka (a rebellion in Congress-JD(S) has since helped the BJP return to office), Delhi and Jharkhand. Party leaders feel the results will motivate the cadres for the upcoming state elections in West Bengal, where the BJP is hoping to defeat Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). 

Also Read: In BJP’s bypoll win in 2 Karnataka seats, a message from Yediyurappa to party bosses

Telangana surprise

As of Tuesday evening, the BJP was leading in 19 of 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh that went to bypolls, while the Congress was leading in nine. The bypolls were necessitated after BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress this March and 25 MLAs followed suit. The exodus brought down the erstwhile Kamal Nath government in the state. Of the 28 seats, 16 fall in the Gwalior-Chambal region, which is considered Scindia’s pocket borough. 

The bypolls had become a prestige battle for Scindia and are also crucial to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government achieving majority in the house.  

It was a huge day for the BJP in Manipur, where it had won three of the four seats it contested and was leading in the fourth by 7 pm. There are five assembly seats for which bypolls were held in the state, and the fifth has been won by an Independent. The state is governed by a BJP-led administration.

The Telangana bypoll results threw a surprise for the BJP, which won the sole seat that went to the polls — Raghunandan Rao Madhavaneni won the Dubbaka constituency in the state. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of incumbent MLA Ramalinga Reddy. The constituency witnessed a high-stakes triangular contest between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Congress and the BJP. 

The significance of the BJP’s win in Dubbaka can be gauged by the fact that it borders Gajwel, represented by the Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, and to its north is Sircilla, the constituency of the CM’s son and state IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao. 

“We had been preparing for this battle and wanted to position ourselves as the main opposition party in the state. So far, the Congress is seen as that, but our win will change that perception” said a senior BJP leader. 

In Karnataka, the BJP is ahead in both the seats that went to the polls, leading in Sira and securing the R.R. Nagar seat. 

The BJP had won seven seats in Gujarat and was leading in one at 7 pm. Soon after the results started trickling in, BJP party workers broke into celebration and burst firecrackers at its headquarters in Gandhinagar.

Led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the Uttar Pradesh campaign, the party was leading in 5 out of 7 that went to bypolls, with the Samajwadi Party winning one seat. 

Also Read: Win or lose, BJP to go for broke in Bihar, at Nitish Kumar’s cost


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