BJP smiles after first election post demonetisation

By-elections for the 10 assembly and four Lok Sabha constituencies in the states and Puducherry were held on Saturday.

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New Delhi, Nov 22 In the first elections after the government's demonetisation, the BJP on Tuesday won by-polls in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh while the Trinamool Congress, one of the most bitter critics of the currency spike, triumphed in West Bengal.

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The AIADMK swept all three assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu and the ruling CPI-M-led Left Front in Tripura wrested one seat from the Congress and retained another. The Congress' lone success came in Puducherry.

By-elections for the 10 assembly and four Lok Sabha constituencies in the states and Puducherry were held on Saturday.

In Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Shahdol Lok Sabha and Nepanagar assembly seats defeating Congress candidates by huge margins. The BJP's Gyan Singh won from Shahdol and Manju Dadu from Nepanagar. The Congress came second in both places.

BJP candidate Pradan Baruah won the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat in Assam that was vacated by Sarbananda Sonowal after he became the Chief Minister. The ruling party's Mansing Rongpi won the Baithalangso assembly seat, where the Congress candidate, who had won in May, joined the BJP.

In Arunachal Pradesh, Desingu Pul, the wife of former Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, who committed suicide in August, won from Hayuliang assembly constituency as a BJP candidate.

The BJP said its victories signaled people's support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to scrap large currency notes in a move to curb black money and corruption.

"The people of India are with Modi," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said in the Lok Sabha.

But Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, an opponent of the demonetisation that has led to a massive cash crunch, said the landslide victory of her Trinamool Congress in West Bengal was "people's revolt" against New Delhi.

"People have revolted. This is symbolic. It is a vote against demonetisation. In a democracy, people vent their anger through votes," Banerjee said after the Trinamool won the Monteshwar assembly seat and Lok Sabha constituencies of Coochbehar and Tamluk.

Trinamool's Partha Pratim Roy won Cooch Behar while his party colleague Dibyendu Adhikari triumpged in Tamluk. Saikat Panja of the Trinamool won the Monteshwar seat.

The ruling AIADMK, which has also denounced the demonetisation, swept the by-polls in Tamil Nadu where elections were held for Thanjavur, Aravakurichi and Thirupparankundram assembly seats, whihc went to M. Rengasamy, Senthil Balaji and A.K. Bose respectively.

In Tripura, the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which has disparaged the government for spiking the currency, wrested the Barjala and retained the Khowai assembly seats.

CPI-M candidate Jhumu Sarkar defeated BJP's Shista Mohan Das, a former bureaucrat in Barjala, while Biswajit Datta trounced Trinamool's Manoj Das in Khowai. Congress candidates in both the seats came distant four.

In Puducherry, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy won the Nellithope seat in a consolatory victory for the Congress.

Narayanasamy, who had to get elected to the house within six months of taking office, trounced his nearest AIADMK rival.

IANS

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