New Delhi: Three years on, PM Narendra Modi has been able to hold on to his popularity. UP poll results were no fluke it seems, the bypoll results show that the BJP has been able to cement its voter base.
BJP won the assembly by-elections in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam and Rajasthan, as results poured in for the nine seats where elections were held on Sunday.
There was some solace for the Congress in Karnataka, where it won both the seats.
By-elections were held in nine Assembly constituencies in seven states on Sunday, besides the Srinagar parliamentary seat. Two seats each are in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and one each in West Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
The BJP got over half the votes polled in the Rajouri Garden seat in the Delhi assembly, handing a humiliating defeat to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, which finished a distant third and even lost its deposit.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the joint candidate of the BJP and its ally the Shiromani Akali Dal, bagged 40,602 votes.
Meenakshi Chandela of the Congress finished second with 25,950 votes while AAP's Harjeet Singh managed to get only 10,243 votes and lost his deposit of Rs 10,000, as he got less than a sixth of the total votes polled.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP retained the Bandhavgarh Assembly seat after defeating rival Congress by margin of over 25,000 votes while it was a close fight between the Congress and BJP in Ater seat.
The by-election had to be held as the BJP’s Gyan Singh, who represented the seat in the legislative assembly, was elected to the Lok Sabha in November last year from Shahdol in a by-election.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP’s Dr Anil Dhiman won the Bhoranj (SC) Assembly seat by 8,290 votes.
Dhiman defeated his nearest rival, Promila Devi of the Congress, by 8,290 votes. Pawan Chandel, a BJP rebel who contested as an Independent, polled 4,630 votes.
The seat had fallen vacant following the death of BJP stalwart and former minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman, who had won the seat six times in a row since 1990. Anil Dhiman is his son.
With this, the strength of the BJP has increased to 28 in the 68-member House.
The showing was good for the party in Assam also where its candidate Ranoj Pegu won the Dhemaji Assembly by-election defeating his nearest rival, Babul Sonowal of the Congress, by 9,285 votes.
The bypoll was necessitated following the election of the earlier incumbent, the BJP’s Pradan Baruah, to the Lok Sabha from Lakhimpur seat.
The BJP had won 60 of 126 Assembly seats and formed the government in partnership with its pre-poll alliance partners last year.
In Karnataka, the ruling Congress retained its hold, winning Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly seats.
Kalale N. Keshavamurthy of the Congress defeated his nearest rival V. Srinivas Prasad of the BJP by over 21,000 votes in Nanjangud.
In Gundlupet, Geetha Mahadevaprasad (Congress) trounced the BJP's C.S. Niranjan Kumar by over 10,000 votes. Both the seats were held by Congress.
The by-elections were necessitated in Gundulpet following the death of cooperation minister Mahadevaprasad and in Nanjangud, it was caused by the resignation of Srinivas Prasad as Congress MLA after he was dropped from the ministry.
Srinivas Prasad had switched over to the BJP, while Keshavamurthy had contested the 2013 Assembly polls on a Janata Dal (Secular) ticket.
In Rajasthan, BJP candidate Shobha Rani won the Dholpur Assembly bypoll.