By Dr. Gyan Pathak
Congress winning three Vidhan Sabha Constituencies and the BJP and its ally winning two in the byelections held for five seats in four states’ legislative assemblies –Maharashtra, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu – is defeat a clear indication of the Congress emerging stronger vis-à-vis the BJP, and thereby UPA is gaining upper hand over the NDA.
The most spectacular win of the Congress came from Kasab Peth Vidhan Sabha Constituency which it wrested from the BJP. INC’s Dhangekar Ravindra Hemraj won Kasba Peth by defeating BJP’s Hemant Narayan Rasane by a margin of 10,915 votes.
It is important for two reasons – first, Maharashtra is presently ruled by Shinde faction that split the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray and is in power with the help of BJP. Secondly, the constituency has been BJP’s stronghold in the district.
In the 2019 Vidhan Sabha election BJP had polled 75,492 votes (50.3 per cent) and won the seat while the Congress was able to bag only 47,296 votes (31.52 per cent). Congress polled 73,309 votes (52.98 per cent) this time while the BJP polled 62,394 votes (45.09 per cent). The reversal of political fortune on this seat is significant not only on account of BJP’s loss of about five per cent of support base, but also due to a very encouraging gain to the Congress about 22 per cent of votes.
It indicates that people in the Pune district and the reason are very unhappy with the ruling combine which shows the anti-incumbency as well as voters becoming more supportive to the Congress and the UPA.
Though the BJP won the byelection of Chinchwad Vidhan Sabha Constituency where Ashwini Laxman Jagtap of BJP defeated NCP candidate Vitthal alias Nana Kate by a margin of 36,168 votes, the result clearly shows the BJP’s decline and UPA’s rise. BJP polled 1,35,603 votes (47.23 per cent) as against the NCP’s 99,435 (34.63 per cent). BJP had polled 1,50,723 votes (54.17 per cent) in the 2019 Vidhan Sabha Election, against an Independent candidate Kalate Rahul Tanaji who had polled 1,12,225 votes (40.34 per cent).Tanaji was Shiv Sena Candidate in 2014 Vidhan Sabha Election and had polled23.29 per cent of votes while NCP had polled 15.61per cent and INC 3.17 per cent.
All these indicate that the split in Shiv Sena could not effect any shift in its support base to the ruling Shinde faction, while BJP’s support base has declined. The rise in NCP votes from 15.61 per cent in 2014 to 34.63 per cent in 2023 is a significant achievement to the party and the Maha Vikas Agadi or the UPA though NCP lost the bypoll. This constituency is also in Pune district, and hence both the byelection results reflect BJP’s or NDA’s dwindling political fortune in this reason that would have an impact on Maharashtra politics.
The byelection in Ramgarh Vidhan Sabha in Jharkhand Sunita Choudhary of AJSU Party won by defeating INC candidate Bajrang Mahto by a margin of 21970 votes. It is a significant loss of INC which held this seat. AJSU polled 1,15,669 votes (50.67 per cent) as against INC’s 93,699 votes (41.05 per cent). AJSU is a BJP ally, while the INC is in the ruling Mahagathbandhan led by JMM, and hence, prima facie, it looks like Congress and UPA has been weakened in this state after the Vidhan Sabha Election of 2019. However, close look at the situation reveals that BJP and AJSU had fought 2019 separately bagging 14.26 and 31.86 per cent (total 46.12 per cent). It means the NDA had only marginally improved. On the other hand INC had voted 44.7 per cent of votes that has marginally declined to 41.05 per cent this time. The byelection result suggest that INC and Mahagathbandhan in Jharkhand needs more coordinated efforts to take on BJP and NDA.
In Tamil Nadu, byelection was held in Erode East Vidhan Sabha constituency, where INC’s E.V.K.S. Elangovan defeated AIADMK’s K.S Thennarasu by a huge margin of 66233 votes. Congress candidate was backed by the ruling DMK, which indicate the their future alliance to successfully take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha Election 2024. It also indicate the improving acceptability and relationship of the Congress vis-à-vis the regional political party.
After the election result was out, the Chief Minister and DMK leader M K Stalin has said it a “historic and grand win”. He also said that the ground was being prepared for an even bigger victory of the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
In Sagardighi Vidhan Sabha byelection in West Bengal INC’s Bayron Biswas won the seat by defeating Debashish Banerjee of TMC by a margin of 22986 votes. It was a shocker to the ruling TMC since it was held by the party. INC polled 87,667 votes (47.35 per cent) as against TMC’s 64,681 (34.94 per cent).
It must be noted that in 2021 elections INC had polled only 19.45 per cent of votes as against TMC’s 50.95 per cent. The byelection result has thus revealed a sharp fall of TMC and rise on INC.
BJP has been trying to make its foothold in West Bengal for quite some time. However, the byelection result has dampened their hope. BJP had bagged 24.08 per cent of votes in 2021 on this seat but now could bag only 13.94 per cent of votes.
The byelection in Lumla Vidhan Sabha constituency in Arunachal Pradesh was declared unopposed in favour of the BJP candidate Mayralborn Syiem. Does it reflect BJP’s increasing clout in the North East? No, because, North East voters and parties are prone to align with any political party ruling in the Centre, and for 9 years, it is advantage BJP. (IPA Service)