The results of the bypolls to seven seats in six states, declared on September 8, have drawn attention as they serve as a critical electoral test for the opposition INDIA alliance, pitting them against the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The INDIA alliance emerged victorious in four seats, while the BJP secured three.
This series of bypolls marked the first electoral challenge for the INDIA alliance, consisting of 28 parties, formed recently to counter the BJP’s influence in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls next year. Among the seven seats contested, three were previously held by the BJP, with one each belonging to the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), CPI(M), and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Here is a breakdown of the key results:
- Kerala’s Puthupally Bypoll: The Congress candidate, Chandy Oommen, secured a resounding victory, retaining the Puthuppally assembly seat. He defeated his main rival, Jaick C Thomas of CPI(M), by an impressive margin of 37,719 votes. This win is significant as it deals a blow to Kerala’s ruling LDF.
- West Bengal’s Dhupguri Bypoll: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) triumphed in the Dhupguri assembly seat in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, wresting it back from the BJP. TMC candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy won by over 4,000 votes.
- Jharkhand’s Dumri Bypoll: The JMM candidate, Bebi Devi, clinched victory in the Dumri assembly seat, defeating AJSU party nominee Yashoda Devi by 17,153 votes. This seat was retained by JMM, and Bebi Devi also represented the INDIA alliance.
- Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi Bypoll: Samajwadi Party’s Sudhakar Singh emerged victorious in the Ghosi assembly bypoll, defeating Dara Singh Chauhan of the BJP by 42,759 votes. This win was celebrated by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who saw it as a victory for the INDIA alliance, signaling prospects for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
- Tripura’s Bypolls: In Tripura, the BJP secured victories in both the Dhanpur and Boxanagar assembly seats. These wins were significant as they were by large margins, marking what the BJP considered the end of the Left’s influence in the state.
- Uttarakhand’s Bageswar Bypoll: The BJP retained the Bageshwar assembly seat, with its candidate Parwati Dass defeating Congress’ Basant Kumar by more than 2,400 votes. This closely contested bypoll ended with the BJP winning by 2,405 votes.
As India looks ahead to the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls, these bypoll results are being seen as a litmus test for both the INDIA alliance and the NDA bloc led by the BJP. The political landscape is gearing up for a fierce competition, with the BJP aiming for a third consecutive term in power, while the INDIA alliance is actively pursuing its ‘Mission 2024’ to counter the current government’s influence.