Congress lost all seats to BJP in Gujarat, draws blank in four states
Dr SK Pandey
The writings on the wall for Congress are clearly visible after the results of by-elections in which the BJP wrested all six seats—two Lok Sabha and four Assemblies—from the Congress in Gujarat. The Congress drew a blank in four states. The lone Lok Sabha seat of Howrah was retained by TMC, while the Maharajganj seat of Bihar went to RJD causing a big blow to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The 6-0 Gujarat bypoll results are a crushing blow to the Congress, which failed to retain even one of the six seats despite the fact that Narendra Modi did not even campaign aggressively and counted more on his popularity and delivery. In Gujarat, the BJP won the Lok Sabha by-elections in Porbandar and Banaskantha with a margin of over 1.28 lakh and 71,000 votes respectively, and bagged the Assembly seats of Limbadi, Morva Hadaf, Jetpur and Doraji by handsome margins. BJP’s Vithhal Radadia won Porbandar Lok Sabha seat, while Banaskantha seat went to Haribhai Chaudhry.
Shri Narendra Modi claimed the victory was a symptomatic of the people’s anger against the Congress-led UPA at the Centre and a message to the Congress to “pack up”. Endorsing his views, BJP national president Shri Rajnath Singh said people are angry with the UPA Government. These results would have a deep impact on the Congress, which faces its worst defeat in the next elections, he said.
Unlike Narendra Modi in Gujarat, the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar failed to ensure the victory of his handpicked candidate and Education Minister PK Shahi from Maharajganj. RJD nominee and former MP Prabhunath Singh won against the JD(U) candidate by a big margin of 1.37 lakh votes. It is despite Nitish Kumar actively campaigned in the constituency and camped there for days. At least, 70 JD(U) MLAs and Ministers were involved in the campaigning in what was seen as a prestigious fight between Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar.
In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress retained the Howrah seat with a margin of over 27,000 votes, defeating the nearest CPI(M) rival nudging the Congress to the third spot. These are the first major elections in the state after the chit fund scam broke and it’s a three-way fight for prestige between the Trinamool Congress, the CPM and the Congress. The Congress drew a blank in four states, but somehow retained the Yavatmal Assembly seat. Its nominee, Nandini Parvekar, a political novice and wife of the late Congress MLA Nilesh Parvekar, whose death in a road accident necessitated the by-election, won the seat by 14000 votes.
In the lone Assembly by-election in Uttar Pradesh, the ruling Samajwadi Party retained the Handia seat by defeating its nearest rival of BSP by a huge margin of 26,000 votes. The Congress and BJP continued with their dismal show, registered in the last year’s Assembly elections, by securing 3,809 and 2,550 votes and losing their deposits.