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Bypolls: Congress trounces BJP in Rajasthan; Mamata’s TMC wins big in Bengal | India News

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JAIPUR/KOLKATA: The Congress and the TMC on Thursday swept the bypolls to three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats in Rajasthan and West Bengal by impressive margins, dealing a huge blow to the BJP days ahead of assembly elections in three states.

The BJP came in for severe drubbing in Rajasthan where it is eyeing a second straight term, with Congress candidates thumping its nominees in two Lok Sabha and one assembly seats.

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress+
quelled the BJP challenge in West Bengal with ease as its candidates won the Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara assembly seats, trouncing their nearest saffron party rivals.

After making a remarkable turnaround in its electoral fortunes in neighbouring Gujarat late last year, the Congress put up a muscular performance in Rajasthan where its candidates wrested Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha and Mandalgarh assembly seats from the BJP by impressive margins.

Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress trounced his nearest BJP rival Jaswant Yadav by a whopping 1,96,496 votes in Alwar, while the main opposition party’s nominee for Ajmer Raghu Sharma beat BJP’s Swaroop Lamba by an impressive margin of 84,414 votes, the state election office said.

The Congress’s Vivek Dhakad won the Mandalgarh assembly seat, defeating his nearest BJP rival Shakti Singh Hada by nearly 13,000 votes. Rebel Congress leader Gopal Malviya, who contested as an independent, failed to alter the outcome.

celebrations

The defeat for the BJP came days after the release of period film ‘Padmaavat’ which saw an upheaval of sorts in the state, with the influential Rajput community up in arms against its screening, claiming it distorted historical facts and projected queen Padmini of Mewar in poor light.

Though the BJP government stood solidly behind the Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which spearheaded the protest against the the film, to stall its release, the gesture did not pay off as the party lost the Ajmer seat that has sizeable population of Rajputs.

The recent incidents of vigilantism in the name of cow protection, including the lynching of a Muslim man Pehlu Khan in Alwar over allegations of cow smuggling, appeared to have consolidated the minority community electorate behind the Congress.

The BJP had won all the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in the 2014 general elections.

The party, which wrested power from the Congress in in Rajasthan in 2013, had 161 MLAs in the House of 200.

With today’s win, the Congress’s strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up to 48.

Buoyed by the results, a jubilant Congress president Rahul Gandhi hailed the party’s Rajasthan unit for its impressive show, calling the outcome a “rejection” of the BJP by the people.

“Well done Rajasthan Congress! Proud of each and every one of you. This is a rejection of the BJP by the people of Rajasthan. #RajasthanByPolls,” Gandhi tweeted.

The Congress’s electoral distress, however, continued in Mamata Banerjee’s citadel of West Bengal where it finished a poor fourth in both Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara assembly constituencies. Both its candidates lost their security deposits.

The BJP, which is seeking to position itself as the chief opposition party, increased its vote share in both seats, with its candidates finishing second. CPM candidates ranked third.

TMC candidate Sajda Ahmed trounced Anupam Mallick of BJP by over 4.74 lakh votes in Uluberia Lok Sabha seat in Howrah district.

She secured 7,67,219 votes as against 2,93,018 votes bagged by the BJP candidate.

Sajda is the wife of TMC MP Sultan Ahmed, whose death necessitated the bypoll.

The BJP’s vote share in Uluberia doubled since the 2014 general elections when its candidate had secured little over 1.37 lakh votes.

In Noapara assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas district, TMC candidate Sunil Singh humbled his BJP rival Sandip Banerjee by over 63,000 votes.

The bypoll in Noapara was necessitated following the death of sitting Congress MLA Madhusudan Ghose. The Congress had won the seat in the last polls but its candidate Gautam Bose could manage barely 10,523 votes.

Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland are slated later this month.

The BJP, which has its governments in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, is seeking to make inroads into the three election- bound states.

Updated: February 1, 2018 — 4:51 pm

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