Congress wrests Mandalgarh Assembly seat in Rajasthan from BJP

Posted February 06, 2018

The BJP has lost two Lok Sabha bypolls and one assembly bypoll. This 17-0 lead to the Congress across demographic and geographic divides looks ominous ahead of Assembly elections scheduled for November 2018.

Polls to the three seats were necessitated after the deaths of their incumbent representatives.

Will the results trigger a rethink on simultaneous polls?

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The strength of Congress is still much lower compared to the BJP, though the party is high on morale and its leader is ready to question "why people mandated against the BJP" in the house. BJP candidates Ram Swaroop Lamba and Jaswant Yadav were trailing in the Ajmer and Alwar seats respectively at the time of filing this report. In Behror, Yadav lost in his own Assembly seat by a 21,826 votes. In Ajmer, it was a senior Brahmin leader who ate into the BJP's core vote.

The Congress party gained the majority at all the three constituencies. Dhakar recorded an easy win by defeating BJP's Shakti Singh Hada by nearly 13,000 votes. "We will do a booth-wise analysis to understand the actual cause of our defeat", said Ashok Parnami, Rajasthan BJP chief.

"I have spoken to the chief minister. The results show that the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi is gaining ground", the Nanded MP said. "Young people in this country have realised that the politics of polarisation doesn't work", he said. But he lost to Sanwar Lal Jat, who died previous year.

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Meanwhile in West Bengal, BJP did not manage to make a dent in the vote. BJP came second followed by CPI-M and Congress. Trinamool Congress's Sajda Ahmed received a record mandate of 7,67,219 votes. The numerically-significant Rajputs have also been seething in the state, first over the "encounter" of gangster Anandpal, a fellow Rajput, and then over the Padmaavat film controversy Some Rajput organisations had announced that they would not vote for the BJP.

The result was more or less similar in Noapara assembly constituency, where TMC won by a huge margin.

Beyond the infighting, recent developments have turned many in the state against Raje and the mood seems to have been reflected in the massive swing towards the Congress candidates in the bye-polls. In the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat, as if to prove this point, the TMC had a winning margin of a whopping 4.74 lakh votes.

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