M A I N   N E W S

Bypoll shocker for BJP
Loses 13 of its 24 seats in UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat
Big gain for SP, Cong
Vibha Sharma
Tribune New Service

Assembly bypolls

Total seats: 32 | BJP: 12 | Cong: 7 | SP: 8 | TDP: 1 | TMC: 1 | AIUDF: 1 | CPM: 1 | Ind: 1

LS byelections Total seats: 3

Vadodra (Gujarat): BJP | Mainpuri (UP): SP | Medak (Telangana): TRS

New Delhi, September 16
The results of the Assembly byelections have come as a blow for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat — the states it had swept in the Lok Sabha polls four months ago — losing 13 of the 24 seats held by it.

Of the 32 Assembly seats across nine states for which counting of votes was held today, the BJP won 12, Congress seven and Samajwadi Party eight while TDP (Andhra), Trinamool Congress (West Bengal), AIUDF (Assam) and CPM bagged one each. One seat in Sikkim was won by an Independent.

This is the third consecutive setback for the saffron party after its disappointing performance in Assembly byelections in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh in the past two months. All 11 seats in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat (9) and Rajasthan (4) were held by the BJP and the bypolls were necessitated after the sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha.

It was Uttar Pradesh — the party’s recently acquired stronghold where the BJP managed a near-total sweep in the LS elections — that delivered a humiliating blow to the saffron party as it lost seven of the 11 seats held by it, including the one held by its ally, the Apna Dal. The BSP's absence in the byelections had made it a virtual straight fight between the SP and the BJP in the politically crucial state. BJP strongman Amit Shah was credited with crafting the spectacular win for his party in UP in the Lok Sabha polls. The party lost six out of 13 seats in Rajasthan and Gujarat, where it’s in power. Lost for words, BJP leaders could not even blame rival parties for playing foul in the elections. Senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the results “deserve a small introspection”. “This is not a national mandate. It is a localised issue. Surely, it is a wake-up call for better planning in the upcoming Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections,” he said.

Senior leader Uma Bharti dismissed questions about efficacy of the “Modi wave” saying "state leaders and workers need to introspect."

It was a significant comeback by the SP, which won eight out of 11 seats in Uttar Pradesh —and the Congress, which trounced BJP on three out of four seats in Rajasthan.

“The people of the state have given a befitting reply to the communal forces and clearly expressed their desire for harmony and brotherhood,” said a beaming UP CM Akhilesh Yadav. Among BJP's big losses is the Rohaniya seat, which falls within Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi. The saffron party just about managed to hold to its own in Modi’s home state Gujarat, winning six out of nine seats.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was left re-faced as the Congress won three out of four seats. One of the seats — Surajgarh—was being contested by her close aide Digambar Singh who lost to Shravan Kumar of the Congress by 3270 votes.

The BJP had swept the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the desert state earlier this year. High on the win, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot advised the “BJP to take a lesson from these elections and introspect” The BJP retained Kota South, losing Surajgarh, Weir and Nasirabad to the Congress.

The only silver lining for the BJP was the inroads into WB where it has won Basirhat Dakshin (South) seat.





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