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NEW DELHI: The bypoll defeats in Rajasthan on Thursday will worry BJP all the more because Congress led in all 17 assembly segments where polling was held — eight each in Ajmer and Alwar parliamentary constituencies, and Mandalgarh.
An elated Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Well done Rajasthan Congress! Proud of each and every one of you. This is a rejection of BJP by the people of Rajasthan.”
The biggest victory for Congress came in Alwar, where Congress’s Karan Singh Yadav defeated BJP’s Jaswant Singh Yadav, a cabinet minister in the Raje government, by over 1.96 lakh votes.
In Ajmer, where Raje had begun campaigning much before the bypoll dates were declared, Congress’s Raghu Sharma defeated BJP’s Ramswaroop Lamba, son of former Union minister Sanwarlal Jat whose demise led to the bypoll.
In Mandalgarh assembly seat, which had a triangular contest since a Congress rebel was in fray as an independent, Congress’s Vivek Dhakar recorded an easy victory over BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada with a margin of almost 13,000 votes.
A consolation came for BJP in the form of the West Bengal bypoll results, in which the party emerged as runner-up by relegating CPM to the third position.
However, TMC maintained its ascendancy by securing more votes than the combined share of all other parties in both seats — Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency and Noapara assembly constituency. Congress finished as an also-ran in both seats.
The two results, taken together, confirmed West Bengal’s lurch towards a bipolar polity — with BJP shaping up as the principal opposition to Trinamool — which was last on show in the 2017 local elections.
Thursday’s bypoll result announcement, which coincided with Congress’s Sonia Gandhi holding a meeting of the opposition in Parliament, came as a shot in the arm for Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “Soniaji congratulated me. I also congratulated her,” Banerjee said, referring to the Congress’s spirited performance in Rajasthan.
“The bypoll result is a people’s victory. All parties should come together against BJP. We should plan for one-to-one fights against the BJP,” she said.