Bypoll results: Congress' closest rival was NOTA in Nandyal, Bawana was different
That the Congress did not stand a chance to win the Nandyal bypoll was a given. What came as a shocker was how the party polled less than the NOTA (None of the above) option in many rounds of counting. In Bawana though, the party gave a tough fight. While it was pushed to the third spot in Bawana, Congress' vote share improved greatly.
At the end of counting of votes in Nandyal assembly bypoll, the Congress managed to pull off just 0.1 per cent more than NOTA. According to data from the Election Commission of India, Congress got just 1,382 votes out of the 1.7 lakh votes. 1,231 people chose NOTA. In terms of vote share, the Congress managed to get a mere 0.80 per cent as against NOTA's 0.71 per cent.
The numbers are disappointing considering that about a decade ago, Nandyal was a Congress bastion. The bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and formation of Telangana has cost the Congress greatly and if the Nandyal bypolls are anything to go by, there is very little for the Congress to look forward to. In multiple rounds of counting, NOTA was chosen more than the Congress. Incidentally, the Congress had won the Nandyal seat by a record margin of 5 lakh votes when former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao had contested. Today, it is an unfortunate turn of tables for the party that is struggling not for victory but for relevance.
Congress' fighting spirit on display in Bawana
Political analysts have been speaking of Congress' reignited spirit to fight after the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections. The Congress' may have lost New Delhi's Bawana assembly constituency to the AAP but the party did not go down without a fight. The Congress' vote share jumped considerably in the constituency in comparison to the 2015 general assembly elections.
Bawana constituency was expected to be a landslide for the AAP but the Congress sprung a surprise by maintaining lead from round one of counting. The party maintained lead till the sixth round of counting when the Congress had 3,437 votes more than closest rival, AAP. Things took a turn in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party for the next three rounds but yet again, the Congress took the lead in the 10th round of counting.
The counting of votes in Bawana turned into a neck-to-neck fight between the AAP and Congress till the BJP rushed ahead of Congress by polling more votes. As counting drew to a close, the AAP emerged the frontrunner with the BJP trailing. Congress, despite the fight that it put up, was pushed to the third place.
Out of the total 1.3 lakh votes, Congress polled 31,919 as against its 2015 votes of 14,846. In terms of vote share, the Congress showed great growth. On Monday, the Congress got 24.19 per cent vote share, a huge jump from its 2015 vote share of 7.87 per cent. If not the seat, the Congress seems to have at least put up a fight to improve its vote share.
With a tough Gujarat assembly election and a relatively tricky Karnataka assembly election around the corner, the Congress is expected to keep its fighting spirit intact to emerge as a stronger contender in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.