INDIA Alliance Takes Edge Over BJP, Bags Four Out Of Seven Bypoll Seats; SP Wins Ghosi

New Delhi: The opposition INDIA bloc scored four seats against the BJP’s three in the by-elections for seven assembly constituencies across six states announced on Friday. The BJP secured three seats and one seat each went to Congress, SP, JMM and TMC. The BJP held on to the Bageshwar assembly seat in Uttarakhand and Dhanpur in Tripura and snatched Boxanagar assembly seat from CPI(M) in the northeastern state, where the INDIA alliance parties had teamed up, but conceded the Dhupguri assembly seat in West Bengal to the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The Samajwadi Party maintained its Ghosi Assembly seat in a direct contest with Dara Singh Chauhan of the BJP in the by-poll. The BJP hailed its triumph in Tripura bypolls, claiming that it was the end of the line for the communists in the northeastern state, which was once regarded as a Left stronghold. BJP’s spokesperson for the northeastern region Sambit Patra said the results are a knockout blow to the “arrogant” coalition of opposition parties.

The opposition alliance tasted victory in Jharkhand, where the JMM retained the Dumri assembly seat, and in the Ghosi assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh, where it supported the Samajwadi Party. “It is a win for constructive politics and a defeat for destructive communal politics… It is India moving towards INDIA’s victory,” SP leader Akhilesh Yatra said, declaring his party’s victory even though the official result was yet to be declared.

The bypolls were the first electoral test for the INDIA alliance of 28 parties formed recently to challenge the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls next year. Of the seven seats where bypolls were held on September 5, three were previously held by the BJP, and one each was with the Congress, SP, CPI(M) and JMM.

The opposition Congress-UDF in Kerala retained the Puthuppally Assembly constituency in Kerala as its candidate Chandy Oommen, son of late Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy, defeated ruling LDF candidate Jaick C Thomas.

While Oommen collected 80,144 votes, Thomas could get only 42,425 votes. BJP candidate Lijin Lal finished a distant third with 6,558 votes.

The Congress and the Left, which are part of the INDIA alliance but are the main rivals in the southern state, contested against each other and poll observers said the sympathy generated by the demise of his hugely popular father played out to the benefit of Chandy Oommen.

Jharkhand Mukti Moracha’s Bebi Devi won in Dumri in Giridih district by overcoming AJSU’s Yashoda Devi by over 17,000 votes, according to a district administration official. The JMM candidate who is also the INDIA block nominee got about 1,35,480 votes while NDA candidate Yashoda Devi got about 1,18,380 votes, the official said.

Bebi Devi is the wife of former Jharkhand minister Jagarnath Mahto, whose death in April necessitated the by-election. She termed her victory as a ‘true tribute’ to Mahto who had represented the seat since 2004.

TMC candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy, a college professor, won the Dhupguri seat by over 4,313 votes. He bagged 96,961 votes, while his closest rival BJP’s Tapasi Roy, the widow of a CRPF jawan killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021, got 92,648 votes, officials said. CPI(M) candidate Ishwar Chandra Roy, who was backed by the Congress, was a distant third with 13,666, they added.

“I would like to congratulate all those who beat the BJP to win the bypolls. The BJP has lost four bypolls out of the seven held on September 5. This is a big win for INDIA,” West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said.

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the people of Dhupguri embraced politics of development over hatred and bigotry.

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