The expected outcomes of the by-election for the Lok Sabha seats declared, resulting in a set of nine assembly by-elections, and an election for one assembly seat in Karnataka, which provided a major political setback to the BJP, raising questions about the sustainability of its electoral dominance.
National Democratic Alliance led by BJP won two out of the four Lok Sabha by-polls (Palghar in Maharashtra and the sole seat in Nagaland) and only one seat out of the 10 assembly seats (Tharali in Uttarakhand). The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), accompanied with the Congress, won the Bhandara-Gondia seat in Maharashtra.
Voting held on May 28 for 4 Lok Sabha and 10 assembly constituencies
Hasan said, “BJP has been exposed and people understand their design. They divide people into religious and communal lines and also tried to vitiate atmosphere here. They raised the issue of Jinnah which had nothing to do with Kairana.”
The BJP argued that by-polls are primarily being fought on local issues. In a recent communication with journalists, party chief Amit Shah said, “When voters know that their decision will impact state and national government formation, they vote differently. By-polls are fought on local issues.”
Maharashtra proved to be a strong area for the BJP, defeated Shiv Sena in Palghar, in a tough contest, showing that under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, BJP has emerged as the clearly dominant player in the old BJP-SS equation, it also lost to the NCP which was supported by the Congress in Bhandara-Gondia.
BJP lost seats in Jharkhand; In UP, SP won the Noorpur assembly seat; the Congress won a seat in Meghalaya, defeating BJP’s ally National People’s Party, became the single largest party in the state assembly; the Rashtriya Janata Dal defeated BJP’s ally, the Janata Dal (United), in Bihar’s Jokihat; the Congress displaced BJP’s ally, the Akali Dal, from Punjab’s Shahkot assembly constituency. The Communist Party of India and the Trinamool Congress regained their electoral dominance in Kerala and West Bengal, winning The Congress also comfortably won the RR Nagar seat in Karnataka.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, vice chancellor of the Ashoka University and a political commentator said, “The by-election outcome reminds us of what is possible if there is opposition coordination. The Uttar Pradesh loss is particularly significant since the BJP has lost a string of by-elections after Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as chief minister,” said. He also added: “The results also indicate that PM Narendra Modi’s personal electoral hold is ebbing.”
The circumstances of the by-polls were more symbolic than substantive, said Milan Vaishnav, a political scientist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also added “Historically, by-polls have been driven more by local factors than larger state or national trends. Symbolically, however, these by-polls provide a shot in the arm to the opposition. They are a confidence booster at a time when state by state, anti-BJP fronts are quickly emerging.”