New Delhi, Nov 11, 2020-
A T-20 match – that’s how the BJP played it if the bypolls on 59 seats across India whose results came late Tuesday, can be compared to a game of cricket. There were 56 seats that went to polls, scattered around India, from the North-East to Karnataka and the party won 41. That’s a strike rate of nearly 70 per cent.
While the numbers game came from predominantly 3 states — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — in the last two states it snatched seats from the Congress.
In Madhya Pradesh, 25 out of 28 seats that went to poll were necessitated after ‘Operation Kamal’ which toppled the Kamal Nath government followed by former Congress legislators joining BJP. The BJP won 19 seats out of 28 here. Interestingly, out of 22 former Congress leaders-turned BJP candidates, 15 emerged victorious. These were basically Congress seats that the BJP snatched in this bypoll.
The BJP won seats, even when the margins are as low as 161 as was the case of Raksha Santram Saronia, who defeated popular Dalit leader Phool Singh Baraiya in Bhander. Although the Gwalior-Chambal region may not have been as spectacular, but overall it had no reason to complain.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP was equally victorious where it had a strike rate of more than 85 per cent. Out of 7, it won 6 sets with the remaining going to the Samajwadi Party.
According to the Election Commission, BJP’s Sangeeta Chauhan won from Naugawan Sadat, Usha Sirohi from Bulandshahr, Prem Pal Dhangar from Tundla, Shrikant Katiyar from Bangarmau, Satya Prakash Mani Tripathi from Deoria and Upendra Nath Paswan from Ghatampur. It maintains BJP’s dominance in the state politics, in spite of recent spate of incidents that raised law and order concerns. The victory also strengthened CM Yogi Adityanath’s standing who was at the receiving end of the opposition.
More so, this was a litmus test for the BJP ahead of the 2022 assembly election and it passed it with flying colors. CM Adityanath told reporters, “In the bypolls, the Bharatiya Janata Party has repeated its performance of the 2017 state assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This points out that the BJP will perform well in the upcoming elections as well.”
Down south in Karnataka, it had a strike rate of 100 where it won both the seats. N Munirathana emerged winner in R.R. Nagar, with a margin of over a whopping 58,000 votes against Congress’s Kusuma. It also wrested the Sira seat from the JDS, which was BJP’s first ever win in the constituency. In a surprising victory for many within the BJP itself, its candidate Dr C.M. Rajesh Gowda won with a margin of over 12,000 votes.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, it was a clean sweep where it not only won 8 out of 8 seats but had a seat share of more than 55 per cent. What makes this win so significant ? All these seats were won by the Congress in the 2017 election. No wonder CM Vijay Rupani, when he reached Shree Kamalam, the party headquarters on Tuesday, was given a rapturous welcome by enthusiastic party workers.
In what can be seen as the BJP’s big strategic win in Telangana, a state the party is focusing on for some time now, M Raghunandan Rao on Tuesday won the by-election to the Dubbak Assembly constituency bypoll.
Even in the North-East, the BJP won 4 out of 5 seats in Manipur, a strike rate of 80 per cent.
Sure, there has been few dampeners like in Odisha and Haryana. But then, Patnaik’s popularity was tough to beat in the coastal state for the BJP and so was the Jat consolidation in Haryana, coupled with disenchantment with the recent agri bills. In Jharkhand too, both the seats went to two ruling alliance partners the Congress and JMM.
But overall it was a show of strength that witnessed a sizeable chunk of non-BJP seats being won as in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat while retaining own seats as in Uttar Pradesh. The party won in new terrain like in Karnataka’s Sira or Telangana’s Dubbak. While the focus is still on Bihar and rightly so, where the BJP-led NDA stained a majority, its stamp gets stronger across the map of India from east to west, north to south, quite literally. (Agency)