The assembly by-election results for seven seats in six states declared on Friday were a mixed bag for the BJP and the opposition INDIA bloc, with the saffron party bagging three seats and one each going to Congress, JMM and TMC, while the Samajwadi Party was also poised to win one seat.
The BJP retained the Bageshwar assembly seat in Uttarakhand and Dhanpur in Tripura and wrested 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).
Hailing its victory in Tripura bypolls, the BJP claimed that it was the end of the road for the communists in the northeastern state, which was once known as a Left bastion. BJP's in-charge for the northeastern region Sambit Patra said the results are a bodyblow to the "ghamandiya" (arrogant) alliance of opposition parties.
The opposition alliance tasted victory in Jharkhand, where the JMM retained the Dumri assembly seat, and in the Ghosi assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh, where it backed the Samajwadi Party.
"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 Yatra said, declaring his party's victory even though the formal result was yet to be announced.
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 bypolls were 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-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.
Jharkhand Mukti Moracha'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, they added.
"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.
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.
in Ghosi, Samajwadi Party candidate in Sudhakar Singh had a comfortable lead over BJP rival 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.
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, some INDIA bloc constituents - Congress, CPI(M), CPI, RLD, AAP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and Suheldev Swabhiman Party - extended support to the SP.
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.
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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