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Mixed bag for BJP in By-polls: Concerns in Bengal, HP, Rajasthan; big gains in Assam

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New Delhi, Nov 2: The results of bypolls to three Lok Sabha and 29 assembly seats spread across 13 states and a union territory have been a mixed bag for the BJP as its fortunes continue to nosedive in West Bengal against the might of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee while bad tidings have also come from states like Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

By-poll results: Mixed bag for BJP; concerns in West Bengal, HP, Rajasthan; gains big in Assam

Pitching herself as the pivot of anti-BJP politics at the national level following her impressive assembly poll win, the West Bengal chief minister led a humiliating rout of its main rival in all four assembly seats, including in two seats where the BJP had won but the winners quit to keep their Lok Sabha membership.

The TMC in total garnered a massive 75 percent of total votes cast. It is the BJP's two prominent regional satraps, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and seasoned campaigner and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who have delivered the goods for the party in their home state while their Karnataka counterpart Basavaraj Bommai has had a mixed bag.

The BJP and its ally UPPL won all five seats in Assam with Sarma's ploy of having three sitting Congress MLAs to cross over to the saffron camp paying off as all of them won on its ticket in the bypolls with big margins.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP snatched two assembly seats from the Congress but lost a sitting seat to the opposition party. It was also leading Khandwa Lok Sabha seat. While there has long been speculation about the fate of Chouhan as chief minister, the results will boost his standing, more so as the BJP has suffered in states where it lacks an established face.

Outside West Bengal, the worst news for the party has come from Himachal Pradesh where its main rival Congress made a clean sweep in the bypolls to one Lok Sabha seat, which was earlier held by the BJP, and three assembly seats.

It failed to save even its deposit in Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly constituency. The results may prompt the BJP to review the performance of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led government.

The state, incidentally, will face the assembly polls in 2022 end along with Gujarat where the party had recently replaced the entire Cabinet, including the then CM Vijay Rupani, with a new set of team under Bhupendra Patel.

In Rajasthan, the BJP's central leadership's efforts to groom a fresh crop of leaders outside the influence of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje seemed to be not paying dividends so far as the Congress, despite intense internal feud, thumped its rival.

The BJP not only lost the two bypolls, its candidates stood third and fourth in the Dhariawad and Vallabhnagar segments respectively.

The BJP, however, again underlined its emergence as the main rival to the ruling TRS in Telangana. Its candidate Eatala Rajender, a popular former minister who quit the TRS to join it, emerged victorious despite his former party pulling out all the stops to vanquish him.

While the Election Commission has declared results in some of the seats, it was yet to make a final announcement in some others The BJP friend-turned-foe Shiv Sena won the Dadra & Nagar Haveli And Daman & Diu while the Congress retained Deglur assembly seat in Maharashtra.

The assembly by-election in Ellenabad in Haryana had drawn a lot of interest for the likely political fallout of farmers' protest, and while the BJP lost the seat but its vote share has risen compared to the 2021 polls. INLD's Abhay Singh Chautala, who had resigned in solidarity with the farmers' demand, retained the seat but faced a stronger challenge for the main rival this time. PTI

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