Congress loses all byelections
BJP the net gainer in bypoll
By Pramod Kumar
The bypoll results have come as a big boost for the BJP and a major jolt for the scam-tainted Congress.
The loss of deposit and face in Hisar (Haryana) and Daraunda (Bihar) by Congress candidates, humiliating defeat in Banswada (Andhra Pradesh), and major setback in Khadakwasla (Maharashtra) are indicative of all-pervasive anti-UPA mood across the country.
The miserable condition of the Congress in three by-elections and the NCP losing the script because of its association with the Congress in Maharashtra is also seen as a wake-up call for many of the UPA partners.
Congress candidate Jai Parkash lost his deposit and polled just 14,90,000 votes, around 55,000 votes less than 2009 polls, in Hisar. But the fact that both, the BJP-Haryana Janhit Congress’s Kuldeep Bishnoi and INLD’s Ajay Chautala polled 3,55,000 and 3,49,000 votes respectively, show how far the Congress lagged in the race. The seat fell vacant after the passing away of Ch. Bhajanlal.
Incidentally, the Congress’ vote share went down as compared to the 2009 polls whereas the vote share of both the NDA and the INLD went up. Interestingly, Hisar is considered a stronghold of AICC general secretary Birender Singh. The sitting MLA from the seat is INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala, who had defeated Birender in the last Assembly poll.
Congress may be denying that Anna factor had no effect, the message that resonates across the country from Hisar is that Anna’s attempt to tar Congress with the brush of corruption has its impact. It could play the spoiler for the Congress in the next year’s Assembly election to be held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Gujarat. “If the Congress still has not learnt a lesson from these polls then the condition would worsen further hence Congress should take a cue and pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Winter Session,” said Anna Hazare.
The message from Maharashtra is also worrying for the Congress. The Congress-NCP combine suffered a major embarrassment by losing the Khadakwasla Assembly seat to BJP’s Bhimrao Tapkir who defeated Harshada, widow of MNS MLA Ramesh Wanjale, by a margin of 3,625 votes. In the bypoll necessitated by Ramesh Wanjale’s sudden death in June this year, Tapkir polled 59,634 votes. For the NCP, winning the Khadakwasla seat had become a prestige issue, considering that it forms a part of Baramati, which is represented by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule. No wonder that Ajit Pawar, Supriya and State RR Patil were among the senior NCP leaders who had campaigned for Harshada.
The Bihar verdict is also a big lesson for the Congress. The party polled just about 4,300 votes in a contest won by JD (U) candidate Kavita Singh, who defeated her nearest RJD candidate Parmeshwar Singh by 20,092 votes. While Kavita Singh polled 51,754 votes against 31,662 votes secured by the RJD candidate, Congress candidate Kalika Sharan Singh and the CPI(M-L) nominee Jainath Yadav stood a distant third and fourth polling 4,238 and 3,754 votes respectively. The result shows that the Congress remained in decline in Bihar and there was no chance of its revival in the near future. Daraunda seat had fell vacant after the death of sitting JD(U) MLA Jagmato Devi in June. The party had fielded her newly-wed daughter-in-law Kavita Singh to contest the bypoll.
The Congress defeat in Banswada is also significant. Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy won the bypoll from the Assembly constituency under Nizamabad district of Telangana region. Reddy defeated ruling Congress’ Srinivas Goud by a margin of 49,889 votes. Of the 1,22,872 votes polled, Pocharam secured 83,245, while Goud got 33,356.
The results bode ill for the Congress in the region, which has been in turmoil for over three weeks over demand for Telangana. With Jagmohan Reddy emerging a key player in Andhra Pradesh politics and Kiran Reddy hardly in control of things in the State, Andhra could easily slip out of the Congress hand. This could be a body blow to the Congress, which had won 33 out of 42 seats in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
This by-election followed the resignation of Srinivas Reddy who was elected on TDP ticket in 2009, but quit the party seat in support of Telangana and joined TRS. “The fight was between Telangana forces and Telangana ‘traitors’. The people of Telangana have won,” said Pocharam Srinivas Reddy. The people of Banswada gave verdict in support of Telangana on a day when the 35-day-long strike in the region appeared to be losing some momentum.