Lok Sabha Bypoll Results 2018: The results of the bypolls to four Lok Sabha assembly constituencies — Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, Palghar, and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra and Nagaland — will test the potential of a united opposition in the face of Narendra Modi’s image, and a favorable outcome is crucial for the BJP to maintain its majority in the lower house. The saffron party currently is at the halfway mark and has 272 MPs, even though the NDA has a comfortable majority.
The bypolls came on the backdrop of fissures between BJP and its ally Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and an added impetus to the anti-BJP front in the form of Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka and results will be a weathervane to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Will Kairana go the Gorakhpur way?
Among the four Lok Sabha seats that went to polls, the results for Kairana will be the most keenly watched. The bypoll has become a prestige battle for the BJP after the defeats at the hands of the SP-BSP alliance in the Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur in March. In Kairana, which saw a 54 per cent voter turnout amid allegations of EVM tampering and glitches, the main contest is between Tabassum Begum of Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and BJP’s Mriganka Singh, the daughter of late BJP leader Hukum Singh, whose death in February has necessitated the bye-election. Tabassum Begum has the support of SP and Congress.
Jat and the 2.5 lakh Dalit votes are likely to be decisive in Kairana with BJP having a clout within a large section of Gujjars, Kashyaps and Vaishyas
Trial by fire for Shiv Sena in Palghar
Palghar, which witnessed 53.22 per cent voter turnout, saw the biggest clash between two estranged allies BJP and Shiv Sena and the results are likely to have a bearing on the Uddhav Thackeray-led party’s decision to go solo in the 2019 general elections. Palghar bypolls was necessitated by the death of BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga in January this year and Sena fielded Wanaga’s son Shrinivas in the hope of throwing BJP off the perch by garnering sympathy votes. BJP, on the other hand, will hope that it sails through on the back of the large North Indian population in the constituency. The Catholics account for five per cent, while a sizeable Gujarati and Jain population dot the constituency.
Will NCP-Congress pact work wonders in Gondiya?
In Bhandara-Gondiya, the NCP has elicited the support of the Congress to take on the BJP in the elections and the constituency saw 38.5 per cent voter turnout on Monday. The Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha bypolls were necessitated following the resignation of sitting BJP (MP) Nana Patole after making a scathing attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his authoritarian style of functioning. Patole later joined the BJP.
In Nagaland, BJP-Congress in indirect clash
Bye-elections to Nagaland saw a 70 per cent turnout and was necessitated after Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is also the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader, resigned as a Lok Sabha member in February, days before the assembly polls.
The ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA), which has the NDPP and the BJP as its major constituents, has fielded former minister Tokheho Yepthomi from the seat and he is pitted against opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) nominee C Apok Jamir. The Congress has also extended its support to Jamir.