Thursday’s election results for the two states namely Haryana and Maharashtra saw the BJP’s tally go down alarming compared to its performance in these two states five years ago. The saffron party failed to secure a majority in Haryana while its numbers came down to just 103 in the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly. In contrast, the Congress and its alliance partner surprised every single poll pundit in both the states.
In Haryana, the Congress was close behind the BJP (40 seats) with 31 seats, the party was set to win 46 seats in Maharashtra. Its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, was on course to win 53 seats. This was in sharp contradiction to how many so-called pollsters had predicted their performance in the assembly elections for these two states.
The BJP’s dismal performance wasn’t just confined to the assembly polls in Maharashtra. The saffron party failed to impress voters in the bypolls for 51 assembly and two Lok Sabha seats across 17 states. The BJP suffered a huge setback for the Lok Sabha bypolls in Maharashtra’s Satara, where its candidate Udyanraje Pratapsinhmaharaj Bhonsle lost to NCP’s Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil by more than 85,000 votes. Bhonsle was the NCP’s candidate from Satara in this year’s Lok Sabha polls but he had decided to join the BJP after his election victory, necessitating the bypolls.
Another Lok Sabha seat going for bypolls was Bihar’s Samastipur, where the LJP’s Prince Raj defeated Dr Ashok Kumar of the Congress by more than one lakh votes.
In assembly bypolls, the BJP won 17 out of 51 seats, while the Congress emerged victorious on 12 seats. The Congress’ performance in the BJP-ruled Gujarat was key where it won three seats, the same number of seats won by the BJP. The key victory by the Congress was in Radhanput constituency, where its former MLA Alpesh Thakor lost on a BJP ticket to Raghubhai Merajbhai Desai of the Congress by little more than 4,000 votes. Thakor had won on a Congress ticket in the 2017 assembly elections before leaving his party to join the BJP.
Thakor’s close aide Dhavalsinh Jhala, who also switched loyalty to the BJP, also lost the by-election from Bayad Assembly seat. He lost to Jasubhai Shivabhai Patel of the Congress.
The common theme, therefore, emerging from the bypoll results was that voters had rejected turncoats.
In other key results, the RJD won two seats in Bihar and the Samajwadi Party candidates emerged victorious on three seats in Uttar Pradesh.