Bypolls..Congress damages Shivraj in Madhya Pradesh

New Delhi: The BJP on Thursday won half of the 10 Assembly seats in bypolls across seven states and Delhi while the Congress bagged three and the TMC and the JMM one each with all but two of the seats being retained.

Of the five seats won by the BJP, the party retained three while it wrested the remaining two from the AAP in Delhi and the BSP in Rajasthan--Rajouri Garden and Dholpur respectively.

The BJP retained one seat each in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Assam winning from Bandhavgarh, Bhoranj (SC) and Dhemaji respectively.
Maintaining its hold, the ruling Congress in Karnataka retained the Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly seats in which the party and the BJP had played for high stakes.
It also retained the Ater seat in Bhind district in MP by a close margin of 857 votes. Ater had witnessed violence on the polling day.

The TMC kept the Kanthi Dakshin seat in West Bengal where the BJP finished second while the JMM retained Littipara (ST) Assembly seat in Jharkhand defeating ruling BJP.

Prime minister Narendra Modi hailed the performance of the BJP in the by-polls, calling it "impressive".

He thanked the people for their "unwavering faith in politics of development and good governance".

"Impressive performance by @BJP4India and NDA in the bypolls in different parts of the country. Congratulations to Karyakartas," Modi tweeted.

In a good showing for the BJP in Delhi ahead of the civic polls, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the BJP-SAD joint candidate, handed down a humiliating defeat to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party(AAP), whose nominee Harjeet Singh finished a distant third and even lost its deposit.

Sirsa bagged over 50 per cent of the total votes polled while Congress nominee Meenakshi Chandela came second.

The BJP wrested the Dholpur seat from the BSP with its candidate Shobha Rani Kushwah defeating her nearest Congress rival Banwari Lal Sharma by a record margin of 38,678 votes.

Shobha Rani got 62.15 per cent of the votes.

In the 2013 assembly polls, the seat was won by Shobha Rani's husband B L Kushwah, who had contested on a BSP ticket. He had won despite the Modi wave and the BJP then came third.

The bypoll was necessitated as Kushwah had lost his membership of the Assembly after he was convicted and awarded life imprisonment in a murder case in December last year.

The ruling BJP retained Dhemaji seat in Assam with its candidate Ranoj Pegu defeating his nearest Congress rival Babul Sonowal by 9,285 votes.

In West Bengal, the ruling TMC retained the Kanthi Dakshin seat with its nominee Chandrima Bhattacharya defeating her nearest BJP rival Sourindra Mohan Jana by 42,526 votes. The BJP, which has increased its vote share by more than three times, emerged as the main challenger to the TMC.

The Left and Congress candidates were relegated to the third and fourth positions respectively.

In Karnataka, Congress' Kalale N. Keshavamurthy defeated his nearest rival and former minister V Srinivasa Prasad (BJP) by 21,334 votes in Nanjangud. In Gundlupet, Geetha Mahadevaprasad (Congress) trounced BJP's C.S. Niranjan Kumar by 10,877 votes, an election official said.

Both the seats were held by the Congress which faced a tough fight from its principal opponent BJP, making it a prestigious battle ahead of the Assembly polls to be held in the state in about a year.

The electoral outcome comes as a boost to chief minister Siddaramaiah who is facing murmurs of dissent within his party over his style of functioning, particularly from the old guard, exemplified by the recent exit of senior leader S.M. Krishna, a former chief minister. Krishna's entry into the BJP also failed to improve the party's prospects.

The bypolls also turned into a personal battle between Siddaramaiah and State BJP President and former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who had camped in the two constituencies for more than three weeks. During the campaign, the two leaders made a no-holds-barred personal attacks against each other.

Remaining neutral, former prime minister H.D. Devegowda- led JDS had not fielded its candidates.

In Madhya Pradesh, BJP retained the Bandhavgarh Assembly seat after defeating rival Congress by a margin of over 25,000 votes.

BJP nominee Shivnarayan Singh defeated Congress' candidate Savitri Singh from the seat in Umaria district by 25,476 votes, an election official said.

In Ater, Congress' Hemant Katare defeated BJP's Arvind Bhadoria by a margin of 857 votes.

In Himachal Pradesh, BJP retained the Bhoranj (SC) Assembly seat. Dr Anil Dhiman defeated his nearest Congress rival Promila Devi by 8,290 votes.

JMM candidate Simon Marandi polled 65,551 votes against 52,551 votes garnered by BJP's Hemlal Murmu in Littipara(ST) in Jharkhand.