Boost for Cong, BJP; AAP goes bust

The results of the byelections held in 10 Assembly seats in seven states across the country should bring cheer to the Congress and the BJP and blues to the AAP. Apart from Delhi, where the AAP lost badly, other results largely followed the trend of ruling parties retaining their seats in byelections. The Congress won three seats, two in Karnataka and one in MP, and the BJP five in different states. But the Congress has special reasons to be pleased with the victories in Nanjangud and Gundlupet. It has fought off the challenge from the BJP, considered to have been rejuvenated under Yedd­yurappa’s leadership. Though both are traditional Cong­ress seats, BJP candidate in Nanjangud, Srinivasa Prasad, is a senior leader who had represented the Congress from the constituency. He is also a major Dalit leader.

Congress veteran S M Krishna who had joined the BJP recently, had also campaigned for the party. The byelections were a matter of prestige for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the victories should strengthen his position. The Congress may have been helped by the absence of the JD(S) in the fray, but there is no doubt that the results will give a boost and confidence to the party which has to face state assembly elections next year. However, it will need corrective actions at the government and party levels to be fighting fit to face the bigger challenge.

The AAP has received a crushing blow in the Rajouri Garden seat in Delhi where it came third behind the BJP and the Congress, and even lost the security deposit. This was
a steep fall for a party which had swept Delhi Assembly elections two years ago. The AAP has received many political setbacks in the recent past, including the defeat in the
Punjab Assembly elections, desertion of leaders and involvement of some leaders in scandals and cases. If its national ambitions have been thwarted, its local turf is under threat now. The BJP has surged in Delhi and the Congress seems to have taken the space of the AAP. The humiliating defeat in Rajouri Garden should deeply worry the AAP which has to face municipal elections in Delhi soon.

The BJP has held on to its seats in Rajasthan, MP, Assam and the Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh where Assembly elections will be held later this year. But the party might consider the result in Kanthi Dakshin in West Bengal, where it came second after the Trinamool Congress, more important than these victories. It may take it to be sign of its gaining strength in states outside its traditional areas of dominance.

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