BJP hopes to continue winning streak in bypolls

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2014 02:31 IST

The results for 33 assembly and three Lok Sabha seats where polling was held on Saturday would be crucial for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its opponents like the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP).

The scorecards may indicate the future course of politics in some key states including Uttar Pradesh, where state polls are around two years away.

The outcome could also prove to be a morale booster for parties ahead of the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly elections where voters will cast the ballot in mid-October to select a new government.

Victories for the Congress will act as a shot in the arm before the state polls. The grand old party, which suffered a humiliating defeat in the April-May Lok Sabha elections, is in power in both Haryana and Maharashtra.

The BJP, on the other hand, will hope to maintain the momentum after it secured a landslide win on the back of a so-called Modi wave four months ago.

The saffron party, however, had recently suffered setbacks in the bypolls in Uttarakhand, Bihar and Karnataka.

The Saturday round of elections was spread across 10 states. However, all eyes will be on the politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh where polling was held for 11 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat. The BJP and its ally Apna Dal hold all the 11 assembly segments.

For the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP, the assembly polls and results for his Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency would show if the party has been able to restore its crucial vote bank of OBCs.

Large-scale shift of Dalit and OBC votes in favour of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh helped it bag a whopping 71 out of 80 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, while the SP was left with just seven seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

The SP’s failure to match the BJP’s Hindutva pitch in India's most populous state may pose question mark on the future of the UP-based party.

In West Bengal and Assam, any win for the BJP or even a close second position would further consolidate its position in the opposition space, shunting the Left and the Asom Gana Parishad, respectively.

The Assam outcome will also test whether three-time Congress chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s authority is punctured by the recent inner-party rebellions.

Also, the BJP holds all seats that went to polls in Gujarat and Rajasthan — nine and four, respectively.

In Telangana, the bypoll for the Medak Lok Sabha seat is expected to test the leadership qualities of K Chandrasekhara Rao, who has completed 100 days in office in the newly created state.

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