New Delhi (Agency): Newly constituted INDIA alliance of 28 opposition political parties and refurbished NDA of 39 political parties led by BJP had just tasted the fruit of their first ever electoral battle. INDIA alliance has emerged stronger in 4 of the six states where byelections were held, by winning 4 of the seven seats and establishing upper hand over the BJP and NDA in 3 out of 4 regions in the country.
The September 2023 bypolls were held for 7 Vidhan Sabha constituencies -– Dumri in Jharkhand and Dhupguri in West Bengal in the eastern region, Boxanagar and Danpur in Tripura in the northeastern region, Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh and Bageswar in Uttarakhand in the northern region, and Puthuppally in Kerala in southern region. The 4 seats INDIA alliance won were Dhupguri, Dumri, Ghosi, and Puthuppally while the 3 seats NDA won were Boxanagar, Dhanpur, and Bageswar.
Another important aspect of the result is also noteworthy – all the 4 seats INDIA alliance won was won by its different constituents – such as TMC won Dhupguri in West Bengal, JMM won Dumri in Jharkhand, SP won Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh, and Congress won Puthuppally in Kerala. It clearly indicates a better seat sharing arrangement between the INDIA alliance partners in most of the seats. The success of seat sharing arrangement in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand and the consequent encouraging results in the bypoll should now inspire the INDIA alliance partners for seat sharing across the country to take on PM Narendra Modi and BJP. The by elections results have proved that the INDIA alliance partners are not only able to finalise seat sharing but also able to contest elections jointly on the ground level.
As against this, all the 3 seats won by NDA were actually won by BJP, which indicate the Big Brotherly attitude of the BJP leadership towards its alliance partners, which cannot share enough number of seats with them in the first hand and secondly that the non-BJP NDA partners though more in number than the INDIA alliance partners are electorally inconsequential. BJP is on its own.
High communal polarization in Tripura and Uttarakhand has been well known, which benefited the BJP in winning 2 and 1 seats respectively. Communal polarization did not work in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala. This situation is quite distressing for the BJP and encouraging for INDIA alliance. The PM Modi’s so-called waning charisma and weakening of the RSS-BJP clan’s Hindutva propaganda has been witnessed in all the bigger states. It is an additional concern for the BJP leadership, especially in respect of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, where there are altogether 136 Lok Sabha seats. Kerala sends 20 seats in the Lok Sabha and the BJP has nothing to gain there. Tripura and Uttarakhand send only 2 and 5 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Obviously, loss in these byelections have special significance for PM Modi, who is seeking third term in the Lok Sabha election 2024.
BJP has been pinning great hopes in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, where BJP had won 18 and 62 Lok Sabha seats respectively. The byelection results show that INDIA alliance is still stronger enough not to be defeated easily. TMC has established upper hand in West Bengal, and SP has emerged stronger and victorious in Uttar Pradesh bypolls despites PM Modi’s and CM Yogi Adityanaths concerted campaigns.
TMC leader Nirmal Chandra Roy defeated BJP’s Tapasi Roy in Dhupguri by a margin of 4309 votes, Bebi Devi of JMM defeated AJSU party’s Yashoda Devi in Dumri by a margin of 17,153 votes, and SP’s Sudhakar Singh won Ghosi by defeating Dara Singh Chauhan by a margin of 42,759 votes. The margin of win indicates that BJP has considerably lost its ground in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, which is advantage INDIA alliance. As for West Bengal, BJP has been clearly checkmated by TMC.
Uttar Pradesh result is quite encouraging for SP and INDIA alliance. In the Vidhan Sabha election 2022, SP had got 1,08,430 votes while BJP had bagged 86,214 votes. SP’s votes have increased to 1,24,427 while BJP’s votes shrank to 81,668. It is unnerving to the BJP leadership at the Centre and in the State, which indicates increasing unpopularity of CM Yogi Adityanath and BJP on the one hand and increasing popularity of the SP and its leader Akhilesh Yadav.
In Jharkhand, JMM bagged 1,00,317 votes in the bypoll as against 71,128 votes in Vidhan Sabha Election 2019. However, as against 36,840 votes gained in 2019, AJSU party was able to bag 83,164 votes, perhaps because the benefit it derived from BJP support. BJP had contested at this seat in 2019 and got 36,013 votes. Needless to say, NDA vote share could not increase much while JMM and thereby INDIA alliance has registered a massive gain.
West Bengal has shocked BJP, since BJP had won this seat in Vidhan Sabha election in 2021 by gaining 1,04,688 votes as against 1,00,333 of TMC. The bypoll results show that both the parties are losing their grounds – BJP could bag only 93,304 votes and TMC only 97,613 votes. BJP is losing its ground at faster rate than TMC. One of the reasons may be that CPI(M) which is part of INDIA alliance has put their own candidate on this seat. The state has clearly dampened the political prospect of BJP in West Bengal. (IPA Service)
By Dr. Gyan Pathak