The by-election results for seven assembly seats in six states declared on Friday were a mixed bag for the BJP and the opposition INDIA bloc, with the saffron party winning three seats and one each going to its rivals Congress, JMM and TMC and Samajwadi Party.
The opposition alliance tasted victory in the Ghosi assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh, where it backed the Samajwadi Party, and in Jharkhand, where the JMM retained the Dumri assembly seat.
The BJP maintained its hold on the Bageshwar assembly seat in Uttarakhand and Dhanpur in Tripura and wrested the Boxanagar assembly seat from CPI(M) in the northeastern state, where the INDIA alliance parties had joined hands, but lost the Dhupguri assembly seat in West Bengal to the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
"I would like to congratulate all those who beat the BJP to win the bypolls. The BJP has lost four bypolls out of the seven held on September 5. This is a big win for INDIA," West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said.
BJP leaders hailed the party's victory in Tripura and Uttarakhand and its in-charge of the northeastern region Sambit Patra said the results have shattered the arrogance of the "ghamandiya" alliance of opposition parties.
The bypolls were the first electoral test for the INDIA alliance of 28 parties formed recently to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls next year. Of the seven seats where the by-election was held on September 5, three were earlier held by the BJP, and one each was with the Congress, SP, CPI(M) and JMM.
The opposition Congress-led UDF in Kerala retained the Puthuppally Assembly constituency in Kerala as its candidate Chandy Oommen, son of late Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy, trounced ruling LDF candidate Jaick C Thomas.
While Oommen gathered 80,144 votes, Thomas could get only 42,425 votes. BJP candidate Lijin Lal finished a distant third with 6,558 votes.
The Congress and the Left, which are part of the INDIA alliance but are the main rivals in the southern state, contested against each other and poll observers said the sympathy generated by the demise of his hugely popular father played out to the advantage of Chandy Oommen.
In Ghosi, Samajwadi Party candidate Sudhakar Singh defeated BJP's Dara Singh Chauhan, who had won the seat in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on the Samajwadi Party ticket but returned to the BJP recently.
"It is a win for positive politics and a defeat for negative communal politics... It is Bharat starting towards INDIA's victory," SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said.
Singh defeated Dara Singh Chauhan by 42,759 votes. Chauhan was a minister in the first Yogi Adityanath government and had switched to the SP before the last UP Assembly polls.
This time, Chauhan was supported by NDA partners Apna Dal (Sonelal), Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) Party and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a former SP ally.
On the other hand, INDIA bloc constituents - Congress, Left parties, RLD, AAP, and Suheldev Swabhiman Party - extended support to the SP.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Bebi Devi won in Dumri in Giridih district by defeating AJSU's Yashoda Devi by over 17,000 votes, according to a district administration official.
The JMM candidate who is also the INDIA block nominee got about 1,35,480 votes while NDA candidate Yashoda Devi got about 1,18,380 votes, the official said.
Bebi Devi is the wife of former Jharkhand minister Jagarnath Mahto, whose death in April necessitated the by-election. She termed her victory as a 'true tribute' to Mahto who had represented the seat since 2004.
TMC candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy, a college professor, won the Dhupguri seat by over 4,313 votes.
He bagged 96,961 votes, while his nearest rival BJP's Tapasi Roy, the widow of a CRPF jawan killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021, got 92,648 votes, officials said.
CPI(M) candidate Ishwar Chandra Roy, who was backed by the Congress, was a distant third with 13,666 votes, they added.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the people of Dhupguri embraced politics of development over hatred and bigotry.
BJP's Parwati Dass defeated Congress' Basant Kumar by more than 2,400 votes in Bageshwar in Uttarakhand. Dass is the wife of BJP leader Chandan Ram Dass whose death in April this year had necessitated the bypoll.
Her husband had been winning the seat consecutively since 2007.
This is the fifth time in a row that the BJP has bagged the seat. The three other candidates from Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, Samajwadi Party and Uttarakhand Parivartan Party lost their deposits.
"The victory of BJP in the by-election to Bageshwar assembly seat in Uttarakhand is people's seal on the development works of the party's double engine government under the guidance of respected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji," BJP chief J P Nadda said in a post on X, thanking people of the state.
Nadda also congratulated BJP state unit chief Mahendra Bhatt, the party workers and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
In Tripura, BJP's Tafajjal Hossain won the Boxanagar seat, which has around 66 per cent minority voters, by 30,237 votes. Hossain got 34,146 votes, while his nearest rival Mizan Hossain of the CPI(M) got 3,909 votes.
BJP candidate Bindu Debnath bagged the Dhanpur seat, which has a significant tribal population, by 18,871 votes. Debnath got 30,017 votes, and his nearest rival Kaushik Chanda of the CPI(M) got 11,146 votes.
Alleging large-scale rigging during the polling and inaction by the Election Commission, the opposition CPI(M) boycotted the counting of votes and demanded a re-election.
The by-election to the Boxanagar constituency was necessitated due to the death of CPI(M) MLA Samsul Haque. Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik's resignation as the MLA of Dhanpur led to the by-election.
"We were sure about winning the by-elections because of the double-engine government's developmental works. I thank the people for reposing faith in PM Modi and CM Manik Saha. The CPI(M), which ruled the state for years, will be extinct in the near future," BJP state president Rajiv Bhattacharjee told reporters.
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