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Bypoll Results 2018:Opposition unity pays off as BJP loses 12 out of 15 seats

Agartala: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Amit Shah during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected ministers , at Assam Riffles ground in Agartala on Friday. PTI Photo(PTI3_9_2018_000146B)

NEW DELHI, May 31: In worrying signs for the Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-powered BJP, the saffron party candidates either lost or were trailing in as many as 12 Lok Sabha and the assembly seats hours after the counting of votes began amid tight security on Thursday. The trends/results pouring in from various counting centre point towards a singular pattern emerging across the country: it’s BJP versus a united Opposition. As of now, the saffron party has won Palghar Lok Sabha seat, the Nagaland Lok Sabha seat (NDPP alliance) and the Tharali Assembly seat in Uttarakhand but it lost the prestigious Kairana Lok Sabha seat. The results of these bypolls, considered to be a litmus test for BJP which is currently leading alone or in an alliance in 20 states, is likely to have a bearing on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019. It could also shape the party’s outcome in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram Assembly elections, scheduled to be held later this year.
With the BJP staring at a colossal defeat, widespread celebrations have begun at the non-BJP parties. Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary, whose party candidate wrested the Kairana Lok Sabha seat from BJP in the by-election, on Thursday said that the united opposition had succeeded in halting the “chariot of hate” of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. He hoped the combined opposition would keep its momentum to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections next year. “I am confident that RLD will play a role in how to carry forward the opposition unity and alliance and ensure we give an alternative to BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Whatever the alliance, we will play a positive role,” he told reporters.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday retained Maharashtra`s Palghar Lok Sabha seat where it had faced the “hijacking” of the son of the late sitting MP Chintaman Vanga by its ruling ally, the Shiv Sena. Its candidate Rajendra Gavit won the seat.
Uttarakhand`s ruling BJP on Thursday retained the Tharali Assembly seat in the bypoll. Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) Munni Devi Shah won the seat, defeating her nearest Congress rival Jeet Ram by over 1,900 votes.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Tabassum Hasan has defeated Mriganka Singh of the BJP in Kairana Lok Sabha seat. Since the beginning of the counting, the RLD candidate had taken an unassailable lead of over 43,000 votes. Bharatiya Janata Party`s Mriganka Singh is the daughter of late sitting MP Hukum Singh. Samajwadi Party candidate Naimul Hasan won the Uttar Pradesh’s Noorpur assembly seat with a clear margin of 6211 votes.
The main opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Thursday won the bypolls to both the Gomia and Silli Assembly constituencies, a poll official said. In Silli, JMM candidate Seema Mahto defeated ruling ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) President Sudesh Mahto by 13,508 votes. She received 77,121 votes while Mahto secured 63,613 votes.
In Gomia, which the ruling alliance partners BJP and AJSU contested separately, JMM candidate Babita Devi won by 1,800 votes, defeated AJSU candidate Lambodar Mahto, while BJP`s Madavlal Singh came third.
The candidate of Maharashtra`s ruling BJP was trailing by nearly 20,000 votes behind his NCP rival in the Bhandara-Gondiya constituency as counting progressed in the May 28 Lok Sabha bypolls here on Thursday.
In the available vote-count figures at 3 p.m. in Bhandara-Gondiya, the Bharatiya Janata Party`s Hemant Patle, who was leading in the earlier rounds of counting, suddenly fell behind, lagging at around 188,000 votes, while the Nationalist Congress Party`s Madhukar Kukde remained ahead with a tally of over 208,000 votes.
Congress candidate Munirathna won from the Raja Rajeshwari (RR) Nagar Assembly constituency here by over 25,000 votes, said an official on Thursday. “Munirathna won the election by over 25,000 votes after completion of all the 18 rounds of counting,” Karnataka Joint Chief Electoral Officer K.N. Ramesh said.
In the fiercely-fought contest, Munirathna retained the seat, defeating Tulasi Muniraju Gowda of the BJP and G.H. Ramachandra of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
The opposition RJD has wrested the Jokihat Assembly seat from the ruling JD-U in Bihar. RJD candidate Shahnawaz Alam won the seat by over 41,000 votes, officials said on Thursday. After trailing in the initial round of counting, the Rashtriya Janata Dal established a comfortable lead after 24 rounds.
The opposition Congress retained the Ampati Assembly seat in Meghalaya on Thursday by a margin of over 3,000 votes, officials said. With this victory, the Congress has increased its strength to 21 and emerged as the single largest party in the 60-member Meghalaya assembly.
The ruling National People`s Party which is heading the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government has 20 members and is supported by seven members of the United Democratic Party, four from People`s Democratic Front, two each from Bharatiya Janata Party and Hill State People`s Democratic Party, one Nationalist Congress Party besides two Independents.
West Bengal`s ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday retained the Maheshtala Assembly seat with an impressive margin, while the BJP took the second spot by displacing the CPI-M. Trinamool candidate Dulal Das trounced his nearest rival Bharatiya Janata Party`s Sujit Kumar Ghosh by 62,896 votes.
While Das bagged 1,04,818 votes, Ghosh received the support of 41,992 voters.
The counting of votes for bypolls of four high-stake Lok Sabha seats – Kairana, Bhandara-Gondia and Palghar and Nagaland parliamentary constituency – began at 8 am on Thursday. The results of these Lok Sabha constituencies are being seen as a precursor to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019. Repolling at the four Lok Sabha constituencies took place on Wednesday, May 30. The voter turn-out in Kairana was 61 percent while Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha recorded 45 percent turnout and Nagaland 44.68 percent.
The bypolls in Kairana were necessitated after the seat fell vacant due to BJP leader Hukum Singh’s death. Bypolls to Maharashtra’s Palghar, a reserved seat, was necessitated following sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanga’s death in January. In Bhandara-Gondia the bye-election was necessitated after BJP’s sitting lawmaker Nana Patole joined Congress in December 2017. In Nagaland, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party was the representative of the lone Lok Sabha constituency in Nagaland. He quit in February to contest in the Assembly elections.