The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday suffered a massive blow as the Opposition parties emerged victorious in 11 out of 14 bypolls, including the “prestige” Kairana Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP and its allies were limited at just three with a united Opposition force.
In Kairana, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)candidate Tabassum Hasan defeated BJP candidate Mriganka Singh by a huge margin of votes in the crucial Uttar Pradesh byelection.
The RLD candidate, who handed the BJP its most humiliating defeat after Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, was supported by the Congress and the Samajwadi Party. She also got the support from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The BJP's defeat in Kairana will be a major boost for the Opposition's unity ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year.
The results of Kairana by-election, which was pitched as another test of the Opposition’s unity after the SP and the BSP alliance which defeated the saffron party in its bastion Gorakhpur, will also have a large bearing on the Opposition’s bid to forge an anti-BJP front ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
However, with prestige at stake in every single bypoll in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, the Opposition leaders saw a big boost for strengthening non-BJP unity in winning the Kairana Lok Sabha seat in the politically important UP after a communally-charged election campaign, while similar appeared the result for Bhandara-Gondiya LS constituency in Maharashtra.
In Maharashtra, Palghar, BJP's Rajendra Gavit won the seat, defeating Shiv Sena's Shrinivas Wanaga. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, however, alleged "discrepancies" in counting of votes for Palghar.
In Nagaland, the fourth LS seat for which bypoll was held on Monday, went to BJP's ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP). While the LS bypoll results were equally divided at 2-2 between the BJP-led alliance and the opposition parties, figures for the 10 assembly bypolls came as a big setback for the ruling party which could win just one (in Uttarakhand).
The Congress also won one assembly seat in Maharashtra without contest after all other parties withdrew their candidates. The party, which retained RR Nagar assembly in Karnataka and another in Meghalaya, termed the bypoll results as the people's mandate against four years of the Modi rule and the beginning of the end of the BJP empire.
The results appeared more marked against the BJP after taking into account the parties that had held these seats earlier. While the BJP alliance retained two LS seats -- one in Maharashtra and another in Nagaland -- it lost two others -- UP's Kairana and Maharashtra's Bhandara-Gondiya.
In assembly seats, the BJP and its allies failed to retain Noorpur in UP and Shahkot in Punjab, while Congress, CPI (M), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Trinamool retained their respective seats.
In Uttarakhand, the BJP retained Tharali, but lost Noorpur in UP. SP's Naeemul Hasan trounced BJP's Avni Singh in Noorpur.
In Bihar, the RJD won minority-dominated Jokihat by defeating BJP ally JD(U) by a huge margin.
In Punjab, Congress' Hardev Singh Ladi wrested Shahkot from the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Trinamool's Dulal Das won Maheshtala bypoll in West Bengal, defeating BJP's Sujit Kumar Ghosh. The Left came third.
In Kerala, Left's Saji Cheriyan won Chengannur bypoll. The Congress came second and the BJP third.
JMM retained Silli and Gomia seats in Jharkhand. In Gomia, JMM's Babita Devi defeated AJSU nominee Lambodar Mahto, while BJP came third. In Silli, JMM's Seema Mahto defeated AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto.
Here’s what the parties said
A buoyed Tejashwi Yadav of RJD said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who dumped the RJD and the Congress last year to join hands with the BJP to form a new coalition government in the state, should resign if he has some conscience left.
BJP's Subramanian Swamy, however, had a word of caution for the party and said the "this huge setback in by polls is due to Hubris".
"But the trend is easily reversible if party stops rewarding sycophancy and has more participatory decision-making ethos amongst those leaders whom the public find credible. BJP has an infrastructure to bounce back but needs a new ethos," he said.
The UP results came as the biggest upset for the BJP with the joint opposition candidate, RLD's Tabassum Hasan, winning in Kairana. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of the BJP candidate Mriganka Singh's father, Hukum Singh.
Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav called the results "a defeat of divisive politics" and congratulated all opposition parties for the results.
RLD's Jayant Chaudhary said the opposition unity will continue and the results showed that "Jinnah hara, Ganna jeeta" -- referring to the recent controversy over the Pakistan founder's portrait and the problems being faced by sugarcane farmers.
CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechuri said BJP's loss at its "laboratory of communal and hate politics", Kairana, clearly showed that people did not accept the ruling party's politics but warned that the loss could push the RSS-BJP to spread communal tensions to consolidate the "Hindutva votebank". (With inputs from agencies)
#02:40 PM: RLD thanks Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati: Would like to thank all parties who supported us, thank Akhilesh ji, Mayawati ji, Rahul ji, Sonia ji, CPIM, AAP and others. Jinnah hara, Ganna jeeta: Jayant Chaudhary, RLD on RLD leading in Kairana LS bypoll
#02:05 PM: BJP accepts defeat: Mriganka Singh congratulates Tabassum Hasan and opposition alliance for their massive victory in Kairana.
# 01:58 PM: Kairana: After 21 rounds of counting, RLD's Tabassum Hasan gets 421144 votes, BJP's Mriganka Singh gets 378691 votes. RLD leads by 42453 votes
#11:40 AM: Kairana Lok Sabha by-poll: RLD's Tabassum Hasan leading by 41391 votes over BJP's Mriganka Singh after 13th round of counting
#11:20 AM: "Victory of truth in Kairana": This is the victory of truth. I still stand by what I said, there has been a conspiracy & we do not want any future elections to be conducted on EVM machines. The path for the united opposition is clear in 2019: RLD's Tabassum Hasan on her lead in trends of Kairana Lok Sabha by-poll
#11:00 AM: Kairana Lok Sabha by-poll: RLD's Tabassum Hasan leading by over 26925 votes over BJP's Mriganka Singh after the ninth round of counting
#10:30 AM: It seems like Kairana is also going the Gorakhpur way as RLD's Tabassum Hasan ahead of BJP's Mriganka Singh by 14481 votes
#09:55 AM: Kairana Lok Sabha by-poll: RLD's Tabassum Hasan leading by over 3000 votes over BJP's Mriganka Singh.
#09:30 AM: First round of counting is completed, the tabulation is underway, RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan has received 3700 votes and BJP's Mriganka Singh has received 3746 votes: Indra Vijay Singh, Collector, Shamli
#09:00 AM: Neck-and-neck in Kairana: It seems there is a very close contest between the BJP and the RLD in Kairana. After Tabassum Hasan's early lead, BJP's Mriganka Singh now goes ahead of the RLD candidate.
# 08:30 AM: RLD's Tabassum Hasan ahead of BJP's Mriganka Singh in Kairana: The trends have started coming in and its a no good news for the ruling BJP as RLD's Tabassum Hasan is ahead of BJP's Mriganka Singh in Kairana, according to early trends.
#08:05 AM: Breaking: Counting of votes for Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll begins.
#07:50 AM: Will United Opposition repeat Gorakhpur, Phulpur?: All eyes are on Kairana among the four Lok Sabha seats where bypolls were held on May 28. In Kairana, all the opposition parties backed RLD's Tabassum Hasan against BJP's Mriganka Singh. The bypoll became a prestige battle for the BJP after the defeat in its bastion Gorakhpur and Phulpur at the hands of SP-BSP alliance in the recent bypolls. It will be interesting to weather the united Opposition can repeat a Gorakhpur and Phulpur again.
#07:30 AM: Hello and Welcome to the News Nation Live Updates: The counting of votes for the crucial Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll will begin at 8 am. BJP’s Mriganka Singh is in neck-and-neck contest with RLD’s Tabassum Hasan, who was backed by the Opposion SP, BSP and Congress. The political battle in Kairana is being closely watched by all the parties and would have a large bearing on the political scenario of the country ahead of 2019 Lo0k Sabha elections.