Voters imposed their faith in ruling parties in 10 states where bypolls were held for 30 seats. This tally excludes Madhya Pradesh, where the Bharatiya Janata Party won 19of the 28 seats on offer, consolidating its position in power.
In the others, the BJP won 21 of the 25 seats it contested, winning all eight in Gujarat and six out of seven in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress won a seat each in Jharkhand and Haryana while losing seats it contested in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka.
Gujarat (8 seats)
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, set to win all eight assembly seats in Gujarat, termed this a trailer of the 2022 assembly polls even as some Congress leaders wondered how they could not convert the “palpable public anger” into votes.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said: “This is only a trailer” of the outcome of coming elections to the local civic bodies and the 2022 State Assembly polls.
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani said: “This was not expected. One doesn’t know whatever happened to the people’s anger. Perhaps we were lacking somewhere. We will start afresh.”
The BJP candidates, mostly former Congress legislators deployed a campaign that effectively dismantled their erstwhile party’s charge of “gaddaars (traitors)”. They harped on the theme that as Congress MLAs they could not effectively meet the public’s development aspirations.
Describing this as the tipping point of the campaign, political scientist and veteran journalist Hari Desai said: “People are no longer bothered about political affiliations or loyalties, but more about who delivers for them in the immediate context. Congress tried to corner them (its ex-MLAs) on this, but couldn’t do much.”
The BJP now has 111 lawmakers in the 182-member Gujarat assembly. The Congress has 65, four are others and two seats are vacant.
Uttar Pradesh (7 seats)
The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) retained six assembly seats while Samajwadi Party (SP) won one in the by-election to seven assembly seats . The BJP won the Bangermau, Deoria, Ghatampur, Tundla, Naugawan Sadat and Bulandshahar seats; it won all of them in 2017 too. For the SP, it was also a repeat performance of 2017 election as it retained the Malhani seat in Jaunpur. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress failed to open their accounts.
Terming the victory an endorsement of the BJP government’s performance, CM Yogi Adityanath said the state government has worked for the welfare of the people during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The people have given their blessings by ensuring the victory of BJP candidates on six seats,” he said. The division of votes among Opposition parties — the SP, the BSP and the Congress made the task easy for the BJP.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP national president Mayawati and Congress UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi did not campaign for their party candidates.
Jharkhand (2 seats)
The ruling allies Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress retained assembly seats in the bypolls on Tuesday, even as Basant Soren, youngest of the three sons of JMM patriarch Shibu Soren, became the third person from the state’s first family to become a member of the assembly. In Bermo assembly seat, Jai Mangal Singh, son of Congress veteran Rajendra Singh, won by over 14,000 votes, defeating former BJP legislator Yogeshwar Mahto Batul. The seat fell vacant after Rajendra Singh, who was representing the seat for the sixth time died in May.
Basant Soren, 41, defeated former BJP minister Lois Marandi by over 6,400 votes in party stronghold Dumka, the constituency vacated by his elder brother and incumbent chief minister Hemant Soren. Sita Soren, wife of late Durga Soren, eldest son of Shibu Soren, represents Jama seat in the Jharkhand assembly. JMM chief Shibu Soren is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha. The ruling JMM-Congress-RJD combine won a comfortable majority in the assembly polls in December.
Manipur (4 seats)
Of the four by-elections held in Manipur, the BJP won three and a party-supported independent candidate won the fourth seat, helping it cross the majority mark in the 60-member assembly having effective strength of 58. With these wins, the BJP now has 29 MLAs in the house. BJP candidates won from Wangoi, Wangjing Tentha and Saitu seats and independent Y Antas Khan won from Lilong. The BJP had already won Singhat assembly seat unopposed.
Karnataka (2 seats)
The ruling BJP won both the seats for which by-elections were held, wresting Sira from the JD(S) and Rajarajeshwari (RR) Nagar from the Congress. It created history by recording its first ever victory in the Sira assembly segment Dr C M Rajesh Gowda winning with a margin of over 12,000 votes.
In R R Nagar, N Munirathana emerged winner with a margin of over 58,000 votes against his nearest Congress rival Kusuma. The elections were necessitated by the death of Sira JD(S) MLA B Satyanarayana in August and the resignation of RR Nagar Congress MLA Munirathna from the assembly last year. The BJP now has 119 lawmakers in the 224-member state assembly.
Odisha (2 seats)
The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) retained the two assembly seats. BJD’s Bijaya Shankar Das defeated BJP candidate Rajkishore Behera by 30,000 votes in Tirtol seat in Jagatsinghpur district and in Balasore, party candidate Swarup Kumar Das defeated BJP rival Manas Kumar Dutta by close to 9,000 votes. The deaths of Balasore’s BJP MLA Madan Mohan Dutta and Tirtol’s BJD legislator Bishnu Charan Das necessitated the by-elections.
Chhattisgarh (1 seat)
The ruling Congress won the reserved Marwahi bypolls by a margin of 38197 votes on Tuesday. The bypoll was necessitated after Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA and former chief minister Ajit Jogi died in May. The Congress candidate, Dr Krishna Kumar Dhruw won the by poll defeating his nearest rival BJP’s Dr Gambhir Singh by 38,197 votes. “Marwahi’s by-election was not merely an election to elect an MLA, but was a test of public against the deceit of the last 18 years,” chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said.
Nagaland (2 seats)
The ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) retained the Southern Angami-I Assembly seat as its candidate Medo Yhokha won the by-election by a close margin of 598 votes. In Pungro-Kiphire, BJP hopeful Lirimong Sangtam was defeated by independent candidate T. Yangseo Sangtam who secured 8,747 votes. INC candidate Khaseo Anar polled only 347 votes out of 27013. In the house of 60, the NDPP has 20 MLAs, its ally BJP has 12, opposition NPF has 25 and two others are independents.
Telangana (1 seat)
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday recorded an emphatic victory in the by-elections to Dubbak assembly constituency in Siddipet district by winning the seat, albeit with a slender margin of 1,470 votes.
BJP candidate M Raghunandan Rao secured 62,772 votes as against 61,302 votes polled by TRS candidate Solipeta Sujatha, widow of former MLA S Ramachandra Reddy, whose death necessitated the by-elections. Congress candidate Cheruku Srinivas Reddy, son of former Dubbak MLA Ch Mutyam Reddy, finished a poor third with 21,819 votes. With this victory, the strength of the BJP in the state assembly goes up to two – Rao will join T Raja Singh of Hyderabad in the house.
Haryana (1 seat)
The opposition Congress on Tuesday retained the Baroda assembly seat after its candidate Indu Raj Narwal defeated BJP nominee and Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt by a margin of 10,566 votes. This is the second time that Dutt has lost from the constituency. In the 2019 assembly poll, he had lost by about 4,800 votes to Congress candidate Krishan Hooda. The Baroda bypoll was necessitated following the death of Hooda in April. He had won the constituency thrice in 2009, 2014 and 2019.