Today’s bypoll results, especially of Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana seat, will send out a message to political parties on how to strategise for the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Earlier this year, when Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party surprisingly came together to trounce BJP in Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats, their tie-up threw up a template for further elections.
The May 28 Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll, which was necessitated after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, saw a broad coalition of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, SP, BSP and the Congress joining hands. With RLD’s Tabassum Hasan registering a massive win, a united Opposition with the common goal of keeping the BJP out seems to have worked again. And that may very well be how the elections in 2019 will be fought.
Counting of votes took place in four Lok Sabha seats and 11 Assembly seats in ten states.
Here are 10 things to know about the elections:
1. In Kairana, late Gujjar leader Hukum Singh’s daughter and BJP’s nominee Mriganka has been defeated by RLD’s Tabassum Hasan by a wide margin. While BJP hoped to sway votes on sympathy factor, the strategy of RLD, a Jat-led party, to prop a Muslim candidate, supported by all other formations, worked better.
2. Given that Uttar Pradesh sends out the maximum number of parliamentarians, Kairana’s results have a national message – whether a united opposition versus BJP will be possible and feasible in 2019 or not. There were allegations of EVM tampering on polling day; repolling was held at 73 polling stations.
3. In Palghar constituency, BJP’s Rajendra Gavit, who defected from Congress, won by over 29,000 votes. Shiv Sena had fielded Shriniwas Wanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, from the seat further straining its ties with BJP. Sena has demanded a recounting,
4. At Bhandara-Gondiya, NCP’s Madhukar Kukde, who had Congress’ support, defeated BJP’s Hemant Patle. Election in the seat was necessitated after the resignation of sitting BJP MP Nana Patole over his criticism of the PM. Patole later joined the Congress.
5. In the lone Nagaland Lok Sabha seat, Tokheho Yepthomi of the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) has increased the lead over his NPF nominee by over 41,000 votes. The seat fell vacant after Neiphiu Rio became CM. NPF has Congress’ support.
6. Among the 10 Assembly seats, at Jokihat in Bihar, RJD has trounced JD(U) by a margin of 40,000 votes in an embarrassment for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who was hoping his minority welfare schemes will sway the Muslim and Yadav votes.
7. The lone seat that has gone into BJP’s kitty is Tharali seat in Uttarakhand. Munni Devi Shah defeated Congress’ Jeetram with a margin of over 1,990 votes. The Samajwadi Party won the Noorpur Assembly seat in UP.
8. In Shahkot Assembly seat in Punjab, ruling Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi defeated SAD nominee Naib Singh Kohar with a margin of 38,801 votes. The seat was SAD bastion with the late Ajit Singh Kohar, Naib Singh’s father, being elected from there five times.
9. In West Bengal’s Maheshtala, the ruling Trinamool Congress Dulal Das has won Bengal after beating BJP’s Sujit Kumar Ghosh by 62,827 votes. The Left-Congress combine is at the third position. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has, meanwhile, won both Gomia and Silli assembly seats after defeating AJSU nominees. In Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency in Karnataka, Congress candidate has registered a win.
10. In Kerala’s Chengannur, which has been with Congress since 1980, CPM candidate Saji Cherian won by a massive margin of over 29,956 votes. Kerala remains one of the last bastions for the Left after it was ousted in Tripura. Congress is in the second spot with 46,347 votes and BJP third with 35,270 votes.