By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The BJP managed to form government in Haryana in spite of not having enough numbers and is all set to form government in Maharashtra, but the thin margin of victory in some of the Assembly by-elections has got the party worried.
In Uttar Pradesh, bypolls were held to 11 seats. The BJP managed to bag 7 seats, while the Samajwadi Party won 3. The BJP ally Apna Dal won 1 seat. The BJP had an overall 35.6% vote share.
The ruling BJP won the Gangoh, Iglas, Lucknow Cantt, Govind Nagar, Manikpur, Balha andAGhosi. The 3 seats the SP managed to win include Jaitpur that the party led by Akhilesh Yadav snatched from Yogi Adityanath’s party.
At Gangoh, BJP’s Kirat Singh got 68,300 votes while his nearest contender SP’s Inder Sain got 57,374 votes. In terms of vote share, it is a gap of less than 5%. In constituencies such as Ghosi that BJP won, its candidate Vijay Kumar Rajbhar polled 68,371 votes while Sudhakar Singh, an Independent — who nearly cost BJP the seat — got 66,598 votes. In terms of vote share, it is a gap of less than 1%.
Had the BSP not fielded its candidate, who polled 50,775 votes, it would have spelled trouble for the BJP. A triangular or quadripolar fight helped BJP win.
Even in constituencies the BJP fared relatively better like in Gangoh, the victory margin is less than 10,000 votes. Had its nearest contender who is from SP made a pre-poll alliance with BSP, the BJP would have been swept out. In Gangoh, the votes polled for SP and BSP candidates combined come to around 1.5 times that of BJP’s. An SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan would spell real trouble for the saffron party.
While the day has been saved, it definitely sounds an alarm bell for the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh as the BJP has started to think of strategies for a comeback in 2022.
The margin of victory also has the BJP worried about 2022 as only months back, the most populous state of india gave a thumping mandate to Narendra Modi at the Centre. It has started murmurs within the BJP about the state leadership whose caste mechanism has also upset traditional BJP voters such as the Pandits.
In other states such as Madhya Pradesh, where Jhabua went to the polls resulting in the BJP’s defeat, the margin of loss was nearly 30,000 votes.
However, the sunshine for the BJP remains Sikkim where it has won 2 out of 3 seats in a state where the party was no player. It led the BJP general secretary of organisation B.L. Santosh to take to Twitter to congratulate the party.
But sources say the credit goes to the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) that is in a shambles with most of its leadership recently switching to the BJP, which brought the saffron party to victory in the state. In August this year, 10 out of the 13 MLAs of the SDF in the House joined the BJP.
Even in Gujarat, the home state of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the BJP won 3 out of 6 seats, leaving Congress turncoat Alpesh Thakore losing from Radhanpur constituency. Even in some constituencies such as in Amraiwadi where the BJP has won, the winning margin is barely 5,000 votes.
While the BJP appears triumphant, basking in the glory of forming one government and on way to form another, party insiders say, the party leadership is mindful that there is no comparison between the by-election and general election results when the BJP bagged 303 seats.
A BJP general secretary requesting anonymity said, “You cannot expect by-election to be fought on the same issues as the general election was fought. In a few constituencies, our local leadership had little to talk about their work.”
The same BJP leader told IANS, “Rest assured, the local leadership will be asked questions by the top leadership. But those things are strictly inner party affair.”