BJP wrests both seats from Congress in Arunachal, retains UP seat


After a good showing in West Bengal and near annihilation in Tamil Nadu’s RK Nagar, the BJP’s fortune rose in Arunachal Pradesh as it wrested both the Pakke-Kessang and Likabali Assembly seats from the Congress in the by-elections.

(HT File Photo)

In Arunachal Pradesh, where the Congress has suffered a series of political setbacks in the last two years, after today’s win, the BJP’s strength rose to 49 in the the 60-member state Assembly, which has nine MLAs from the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal  and just one Congress and one Independent legislator.

BR Waghe of the BJP won the Pakke-Kessang seat by a narrow margin of 475 votes, defeating his lone rival and former deputy chief minister, Kameng Dolo of the Congress. In the Likabali seat, BJP’s Kardo Nyigyor won by a slender margin of 305 votes, defeating his nearest rival, Gumke Riba of the PPA.

Reacting to the BJP’s win in Arunachal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I thank the people of Likabali and Pakke Kesang in Arunachal Pradesh for reposing their faith in BJP. We derive immense strength from this affection and remain committed to transforming the Northeast. @BJP4Arunachal”

Over 68.5 per cent electors had cast their votes in the 21 December bypolls, with Pakke-Kessang recording an 86-per cent voter turnout and Likabali 51 per cent, reported PTI.

The Likabali seat had fallen vacant after then health and family welfare minister Jomde Kena passed away on September 4.

The Pakke-Kessang seat fell vacant after the Gauhati High Court declared the election of Dolo from the constituency in the March 15, 2014 polls null and void, following an election petition filed by BJP nominee and former minister Atum Welly.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju congratulated the BJP members for the victory in the bypolls.

Elsewhere, in Uttar Pardesh, the saffron party retained the Sikandra Assembly seat of bandit Phoolan Devi fame in a bypoll today by a margin of over 11,000 votes.

According to the Uttar Pradesh chief electoral officer’s office, BJP’s Ajit Singh Pal secured 73,284 votes (44.86 per cent), while his nearest rival, Seema Sachan of the Samajwadi Party (SP), bagged 61,423 votes (37.60 per cent).

The victory margin of the BJP candidate was 11,861 votes. Prabhakar Pandey of the Congress secured 19,084 votes.

Earlier today, the BJP performed miserably in Tamil Nadu’s RK Nagar, where the party polled almost half of the votes received by NOTA prompting the social media users to poke fun at the saffron party.