By-Election Results 2019: Congress breathes easy in MP after Jhabua win; BJP strengthens grip in Assam, Sikkim

In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress won the crucial Assembly seat of Jhabua, giving it an edge over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was ousted in last year’s Assembly polls after enjoying three successive terms.

Team 101Reporters October 24, 2019 22:22:57 IST
By-Election Results 2019: Congress breathes easy in MP after Jhabua win; BJP strengthens grip in Assam, Sikkim
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress won the crucial Assembly seat of Jhabua, giving it an edge over the Bharatiya Janata Party

  • In Assam, the BJP won three of four Assembly seats. The saffron party also bagged two of three Assembly seats in Sikkim

  • Chief Minister and SKM president Prem Singh Tamang, who contested from Poklok-Kamrang with the BJP backing, thrashed SDF candidate Moses Rai

Results of the by-elections to Assembly seats, held across the country earlier this week, did not see any party come out on top.

In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress won the crucial Assembly seat of Jhabua, giving it an edge over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was ousted in last year’s Assembly polls after enjoying three successive terms.

ByElection Results 2019 Congress breathes easy in MP after Jhabua win BJP strengthens grip in Assam Sikkim

Representational image. PTI

With this victory, the Congress now has 115 seats in the 230-seat Legislative Assembly, one shy of a clear majority. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government has the support of four independent MLAs, one Samajwadi Party (SP) and two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs. This win for the Congress is crucial because it allays the threat of a coup à la Karnataka, where the BJP upstaged the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government a few months ago.

In Jhabua, the Congress’ Kantilal Bhuria polled almost 56 percent votes. His nearest rival, Bhanu Bhuria of the BJP, polled about 40 percent votes, trailing him by 27,942 votes after the final round of counting.

In Punjab, another state where the Congress is in power, the party won three Assembly seats: Phagwara, Jalalabad and Mukerian. However, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s confidant Sandeep Singh Sandhu lost to Shiromani Akali Dal's Manpreet Singh Ayali in Ludhiana district’s Dakha Assembly seat. Ayali polled 66,297 votes whereas Sandhu received 51,625 votes. Internal conflict in Ludhiana Congress is being considered a major reason for the defeat.

Of the 11 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh where by-elections were held, the BJP—which enjoys heavy majority in the Legislative Assembly—won seven. Its ally Apna Dal won the Pratapgarh seat. While the SP and the BSP contested the Lok Sabha polls jointly, the parties went solo for the bypolls. The SP won three seats (Rampur, Zaidpur and Jalalpur) whereas the BSP failed to score any victory.

Four seats were up for grabs in Bihar, where Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) lost three to Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). This result weakens Nitish’s bargaining power with the BJP ahead of next year’s Assembly polls in the state.

Ajay Singh, the JD(U) candidate from Daraundha seat, lost to Independent candidate Vyas Singh, who was recently expelled by the BJP. The seat was lying vacant since his wife Kavita Singh won the Lok Sabha election. Simri Bakhtiyarpur, another seat held by the JD(U) since 2005, was snatched by the RJD’s Zafar Alam. Nath Nagar is the only seat the JD(U) managed to retain, though the margin of victory reduced.

Samastipur Lok Sabha seat was vacant due to the sudden demise of Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramchandra Paswan. The party fielded his son, Prince Raj, who won the seat by a margin of more than a lakh votes.

The big surprise came from Kishanganj, where Asadaduddin Owaisi’s party AIMIM won for the first time while the BJP candidate finished runner-up. Qamrul Huda, who won the election, said the AIMIM will now focus in Bihar, especially in Muslim-majority Seemanchal belt. “Our fight was with communal forces and a dynastic party, which has looted the country for 70 years. This election is a testimony that the people have rejected both,” he said.

Congress loses Kerala bastion

In Kerala, where bypolls were held for five Assembly seats, the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) snatched two seats from the Opposition United Democratic Front, of which the Congress is a part. While the LDF, led by the CPM, lost Aroor, it won Vattiyoorkavu and Konni from the Congress. The UDF retained its Ernakulam and Manjeshwaram seats.

Thiruvananthapuram mayor VK Prasanth of the CPM clinched the Vattiyoorkavu seat with a thumping majority of 14,465 votes. It was a Congress seat and a by-election was necessitated after its sitting MLA K Muralitharan went on to become the MP from Vadagara in the Lok Sabha election. Prasanth’s victory is significant considering that the CPM used to finish third—even behind the BJP—in the constituency. Thiruvananthapuram is the Lok Sabha seat of the popular Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

BJP wins big in Assam, Sikkim

In Assam, the BJP won three of four Assembly seats. The saffron party won in Ratabari, Rangapara and Sonari whereas All India United Democratic Front won in Jania. The Congress failed to score any victory even as its candidates came second in all the four seats.

Independent candidate Chakat Aboh won the by-election from the Khonsa West constituency of Arunachal Pradesh. She is the widow of National People's Party candidate MLA Tirong Aboh, who was recently killed by militants.

The BJP bagged two of three Assembly seats in Sikkim. The party polled less than 2 percent votes in the Assembly elections and tied up with the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for the bypolls. With the win in two seats, the BJP now has 12 MLAs in the 32-member Assembly as 10 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) legislators earlier defected to the BJP in August.

Chief Minister and SKM president Prem Singh Tamang, who contested from Poklok-Kamrang with the BJP’s backing, thrashed SDF candidate Moses Rai, polling about 80 percent votes. Tamang is yet to be elected as an MLA as he was convicted and incarcerated in a corruption case in 2018. He was given a clean chit by the poll panel a day before he filed the nomination for the bypoll, on 30 September.

Inputs from Saurabh Sharma, Arjun Sharma, Umesh Kumar, Manish Mishra, Adur Pradeep, Jutikha Baruah, Avik Chakraborty and Chewan K Dahal. The writers are freelance journalists and members of 101Reporters

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