The results of 10 assembly by-elections declared on Thursday brought cheer to the BJP and a sense of relief to the Congress but dealt another blow to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that finished a poor third in Delhi’s Rajouri Garden.
The results again stamped the BJP’s domination of the country’s political landscape with five of the seats going to the party leading the ruling coalition at the Centre.
The Congress won three and the Trinamool Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) one each.
But it was AAP’s setback that would worry Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, coming just 10 days ahead of the Delhi civic polls and a month after it suffered a shock defeat in the Punjab assembly elections after starting as a favourite.
The ruling party in a state usually has an edge in by-elections and that is what makes the defeat of AAP, which considered and projected itself as an alternative to both the national parties, in Rajouri Garden significant.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people for their “unwavering faith” in politics of development and good governance.
“Impressive performance by @BJP4India and NDA in the by-polls in different parts of the country. Congratulations to Karyakartas,” he tweeted.
The BJP snatched Rajouri Garden from the AAP and Dholpur in Rajasthan from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
It retained Bhoranj in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh, which is due for state election in November-December this year, Dhemaji in Assam and Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP is in power in Assam as well as in MP.
For its part, the Congress may not be disappointed with the outcome.
It retained both seats -- Gundlupet and Nanjangud -- in Karnataka almost a year ahead of the state elections that would see the BJP making an aggressive bid to dislodge the Congress.
Expressing happiness over the results, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah steered clear of the ongoing controversy over the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
“Congress is questioning this because there is scope for tampering. Here in Karnataka, the EVMs were not tampered,” he said.
Though it finished second in Rajouri Garden, the result would boost the morale of the Congress, which after ruling Delhi for 15 years drew a blank in the 2015 assembly election. The grand old party also won from Ater constituency in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, though with the reduced margin.
It will also take heart from the JMM’s win at Littipara in the tribal-dominated state, where the Congress had backed the winning candidate.
“Congratulations to all @INCIndia workers,leaders & supporters on winning the Ater, Gundlupet &Nanjangud by polls!” Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
However, the loss in Dholpur will come as a dampener for the opposition Congress that is fancying its chances in the desert state which goes to polls in November 2018.
And, though the ruling Trinamool Congress retained the Kanthi Dakshin seat, the BJP came second, pointing to its growing presence in West Bengal.