New Delhi: Opposition bloc INDIA – notwithstanding some infighting among constituents – managed to go one up against the BJP in key bypolls Friday, winning four to the ruling party’s three.
With a high-decibel campaign, the BJP had hoped to win Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh, but candidate Dara Singh Chauhan was losing to Samajwadi Party’s Sudhakar Singh by a significant margin.
At last count, Sudhakar Singh had garnered over 88,000 votes, leading BJP’s Chauhan by 30,000.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said this victory was not only his party’s but also that of the INDIA alliance. “We have won and this will be the result of tomorrow (2024 Lok Sabha elections) too,” he posted on X.
BJP also lost West Bengal’s Dhupguri to INDIA member Trinamool Congress who wrested back the seat, albeit by a narrow margin. Its candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy defeated BJP’s Tapasi Roy by 4,313 votes in this north Bengal seat.
The Congress won Puthuppally in Kerala where Chandy Oommen, son of late party stalwart Oommen Chandy, defeated central ally, the Communists, by nearly 38,000 votes.
In Jharkhand, INDIA constituent Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Bebi Devi won Dumri by defeating NDA candidate Yashoida Devi by a margin of over 17,000 votes.
The BJP’s three victories came in Tripura and Uttarakhand.
The BJP won the Dhanpur and Boxanagar seats in Tripura by a big margin – they retained the former but snatched minority-dominated Boxanagar from the CPI(M).
BJP’s Tafajjal Hossain won Boxanagar by 30,237 votes, defeating CPI(M)’s Mizan Hossain, who managed 3,909 votes.
In Dhanpur, BJP’s Bindu Debnath defeated the CPI(M)’s Kaushik Chanda by 18,871 votes.
The party also retained the Bageshwar Assembly bypoll seat in Uttarakhand, with its candidate Parwati Das winning by a narrow margin of 2,405 votes.
Why the bypolls
The Ghosi seat fell vacant because Samajwadi Party MLA Dara Singh Chauhan rejoined the BJP.
Chauhan, who was a minister in the previous government headed by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, led a high-octane campaign for the BJP but voters stuck to the Samajwadi Party in this seat.
In Tripura, Boxanagar went to polls because sitting CPI(M) MLA Samsol Haque passed away in July. The party had put up his son Mizan, who was trounced by the BJP.
Tripura’s Dhanpur went to polls because BJP MLA Pratima Bhoumik resigned from the Assembly days after her election to the Parliament.
Jharkhand’s Dumri polls took place following the death of former education minister and JMM MLA Jagarnath Mahto in April. His wife Bebi Devi won the polls.
Bypolls took place in Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar after the death of sitting BJP MLA Chandan Das, whose wife Parwati kept the seat.
North Bengal’s Dhupguri seat saw a three-pronged contest between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the Congress-supported CPIM.
The bypoll was made necessary because of the death of BJP MLA Bishnupada Roy in July, who defeated the Trinamool in 2021. The Trinamool took back the seat Friday.
In Kerala’s Puthuppally, the Congress and the ruling Left – allies in INDIA – took on each other. Congress’s Chandy Oommen got the better of the Left who went with DYFI leader Jaick C. Thomas.
Tuesday’s election saw a moderate to high voter turnout in all seven seats, with Tripura’s Dhanpur clocking the highest at 89%. The state’s Boxanagar saw 84% polling.
Dhupguri and Puthuppally saw 76% and 73% respectively. Nearly 65% turned up in Dumri, while 55.4% in Bageshwar. Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi recorded a moderate 50.30%.