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Do Bypoll Wins Have Effect in General Elections?

There is a new wind behind the sails of the Congress, said P. Chidambaram, senior Congress leader

NEW DELHI — The Congress is on an overdrive since the bypoll results on Tuesday and is saying that the results are an indication of change which will be reflected in upcoming Assembly elections slated to be held early next year and it is due to this, the government has been compelled to reduce taxes on fuel.

P. Chidambaram, senior observer for Goa and former Finance Minister said, “In states where the Congress won, it did so with a significantly higher vote share. In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress vs BJP was 48.9 per cent to 28 per cent. In Maharashtra, it was 57 per cent to 35 per cent, in Rajasthan, it was 37.51 per cent to 18.8 per cent.”

But, “in states where the Congress lost to the BJP, the spread was narrow, e.g., in MP, the Congress’ vote share was 45.45 per cent and BJP’s vote share was 47.58 per cent. In Karnataka, where the two parties won one seat each, the vote share of the Congress was 44.76 per cent against BJP’s 51.86 per cent.”

“There is a new wind behind the sails of the Congress. Will it gather strength and speed?” he added.

But going by the recent bypoll results after the UP assembly elections in 2017, two Lok Sabha seats were vacated — one by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya in Phulpur. In subsequent bypolls in 2018, both seats were won by Samajwadi Party. It registered victories in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, supported by the BSP.

But a year later in the general elections of 2019, the situation was different and despite SP-BSP alliance, the BJP swept the polls.

In Bihar, the RJD won the Araria Lok Sabha seat and the assembly by-election in Jehanabad, but in 2019 general elections it could not even open its account in the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP leaders in Delhi admit that candidate selection and price rise have played an important role in the bypolls. Some also feel infighting at local units also worked against the party candidates.

Chidambaram said, Congress won eight seats, while non-BJP parties won 7 of which only one seat was won by a crypto ally of the BJP, namely YSR Congress. The other six seats were won by parties opposed to the BJP.

Results of the bypolls to three Lok Sabha seats and 29 Assembly constituencies, announced on Tuesday, have been encouraging for the Congress in the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka where the party is now better placed than the BJP.

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