The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday wrested two Lok Sabha and four assembly seats from the Congress in Gujarat, providing chief minister Narendra Modi the ammunition to target the UPA government and advance his own march towards New Delhi.
The party candidates won Banaskantha and Porbandar LS seats and Limbadi, Morva Hadaf, Dhoraji and Jetpur assembly seats.
All the six seats had earlier been held by Congress candidates. A significant win was registered in the Porbandar seat, where Vithhal Radadia who was caught brandishing his gun at a toll booth last year when he was a Congress MP and later crossed over to BJP, won the seat with over 128,000 votes.
In Bihar, with chief minister Nitish Kumar’s handpicked NDA candidate PK Shahi losing to three-time RJD parliamentarian Prabhunath Singh by a margin of 1.10 lakh votes in Maharajganj Lok Sabha by poll, Janata Dal (U) tasted its first defeat since it swept the state assembly elections in 2005.
The win comes as a morale booster to the RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who is looking to make a strong comeback to state and national politics on an anti-Nitish stand.
The by poll was critical to the JD (U)'s leap on to the national stage at a time when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar are being spoken of in the same breath as potential prime ministerial candidates for 2014. BJP’s sweep in Gujarat by polls has given Modi an edge over Nitish.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) retained the Howrah LS constituency. Its candidate Prasun Banerjee defeated his nearest rival Sridip Bhattacharya of the CPI (M) by 27,015 votes, a slimmer margin compared to 37,000 votes in 2009 LS polls.
The win provided TMC a breather, as it was up against the twin factors of a triangular fight and the Saradha Ponzi scam aftermath. The victory was made easier when the BJP withdrew its candidate Ashim Ghosh at the last moment. In 2011 assembly elections, BJP had secured about 50,000 votes in the seven assembly constituencies that constitute Howrah LS seat.
The ruling Congress retained the Yavatmal assembly seat of Maharashtra. The party’s candidate, Nandini Parvekar, defeated her nearest rival, Madan Yerawar of the BJP by a margin of over 15,000 votes in the bye-elections, held on June 2.
Reports reaching here on Wednesday evening, said Parvekar secured 62,509 votes while Yerawar got 47,276 votes. Only 37.50% voters responded to the by-elections - which was also the lowest voter turnout for Yavatmal assembly constituency.
(With inputs from Kolkata, Patna and Nagpur)