The outcome of the by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 11 assembly seats on Wednesday brought some joy for the ruling Congress at the Centre, but was outweighed by a serious setback in Andhra Pradesh.
While the victories against the BJP in Karnataka’s Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat and Gujarat’s Mansa assembly constituency are encouraging for the Congress, the party’s continuing downfall in AP is casting a shadow on its prospects for the 2014 general elections.
In 2004 and 2009, victories in AP had contributed to Congress’s emergence as the single largest party at the Centre. After YSR’s death in 2009, the party has been on a downslide in the state, without corresponding gains elsewhere.
The win in Gujarat, where polls are to be held in December, can spark hope for the Congress.
Karnataka: Cong rules on BJP CM turf
BJP lost the Udupi-Chikmagalur seat, which it had held since 1998. Congress candidate K Jayaprakash Hegde beat BJP’s V Sunil Kumar by 45,724 votes. Chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda had vacated the seat, necessitating the by-poll. Assembly elections are due early next year and the BJP would be hoping to stop former CM BS Yeddyurappa from rattling its first government in the south.
Gujarat: BJP stunned in election year
Congress candidate Babuji Thakor won the Mansa seat, which was with the BJP since 1995. He beat BJP’s Dashrath Patel by 8,200 votes. The by-election was necessitated following the death of BJP MLA Mangaldas Patel, who had defeated Thakor in 2007.
Andhra: TRS bags 4 out of 7 seats
The ruling Congress was routed in all seven seats. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged four — Adilabad, Kammareddy, Station Ghanpur and Kollapur. The BJP sprang a surprise, trouncing the TRS in Mahboobnagar. YSR Congress won Kovur in coastal Andhra and a TRS-backed independent bagged the Nagarkurnool seat. Kerala: Cong-led UDF on firm ground
The Congress-led United Democratic Front nominee Anoop Jacob beat CPM-led Left Democratic Front candidate MJ Jacob by 12,070 votes to win the Piravom seat. The win takes the UDF tally to 72 in the 140-member assembly.
TN: ADMK registers crushing win
The ruling ADMK retained the Sankarankoil (SC) seat in Tirunelveli with a crushing victory over the DMK, whose candidate lost his deposit. S Muthuselvi beat Jawahar Suryakumar by a record margin of 68,757 votes.
Odisha: BJD scores easy win
The ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha won the Athagarh seat. Former minister Ranendra Pratap Swain beat state Congress general secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra by 47,390 votes.
With inputs from Bangalore/ Ahmedabad/Hyderabad/Thiruvananthapuram/Chennai/Bhubaneswar