It is bad news for the BJP, which could bag just one of four seats, in the last round of Lok Sabha bypolls before the General Election 2019.
In the bye-elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Kerala, and Uttarakhand, the ruling party at the Centre, which has been on a winning spree in the assembly elections, has little to be happy about this time around. In Kairana, where the Opposition united against the BJP, RLD’s Tabassum Hasan, who is backed by the SP, BSP and the Congress, has wrested the seat with a wide margin of over 50,000 votes.
Although BJP president Amit Shah had stated that the bypolls cannot be seen as a test on the popularity or strength of the BJP, a loss in Kairana is an embarrassment for both Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and for the national leadership. Earlier this year, the SP, BSP and the Congress came together to win bypolls to the BJP bastions of Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
BJP’s lone Lok Sabha win has come from Palghar constituency in Maharashtra where BJP’s Rajendra Gavit won by over 29,000 votes. Shiv Sena, which had fielded Shriniwas Wanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, from the seat. has demanded a recounting, At Bhandara-Gondiya, NCP, with Congress’ support, defeated BJP. The CPI-M candidate has, meanwhile, won Kerala’s Chengannur, pushing the BJP into a third position.
The assembly bypolls has brought good news for the Congress in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Meghalaya.
Despite the brave face, the BJP leaders are putting up, the party’s performance in the bye-elections would certainly be an embarrassment for the party as it prepares for the tough battles in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where also the Opposition may unite to defeat the BJP and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “Although these elections were not a popularity test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the trends indicate that the party and its governments would have to face an intense anti-incumbency factor in the upcoming elections. The spiralling prices of petrol have added fuel to the anger and disappointment among the people. The party has to tread cautiously,” said a senior BJP leader.
In the February bye-elections, the BJP had lost Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seat in the Rajasthan. It also came a distant second to TMC in one Lok Sabha and one assembly seat in West Bengal.