Hands down! Congress also suffers setbacks in by-elections

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 20, 2016 00:14 IST
A police officer walks in front of a hoarding bearing the image of late Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi outside the All Indian Congress Committe office in New Delhi on May 19, 2016. (AFP)

Adding to the woes of Congress in Assam and Kerala assembly elections, the party suffered reverses in bypolls in Gujarat and Telangana as its candidates failed to retain a seat each in the two states and forfeiting deposits in both the seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress lost Tura Lok Sabha by-elections in Meghalaya by the biggest margin in its history in the state and failed to win in 13 of the 14 assembly segments held by partymen. In Gujarat, BJP wrested the Talala Assembly seat in Gir-Somnath district as its candidate Govind Parmar defeated his Congress rival Bhagwanji Barad by over 2,440 votes. The by-election was necessitated after Jasu Barad, the Congress MLA from the constituency, passed away in January.

In Telangana, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti unseated Congress in Palair constituency in Khammam district with its candidate Tummala Nageswara Rao, Roads and Buildings Minister, winning by a margin of 45,682 votes against Congress nominee Sucharita Reddy, wife of PCC leader Ramreddy Venkat Reddy whose death necessitated the bypoll.

In Bilari, SP candidate Mohammad Fahim won the election by a margin of 7,063 votes against his nearest rival Suresh Saini of BJP and in Jangipur (Ghazipur) seat, SP candidate Kismati Devi defeated her nearest rival Ramesh Singh of BJP by 22,092 votes.

Congress nominees in the two seats forefeited their security deposits while BSP did not contest the bypolls. Jangipur fell vacant when sitting MLA and cabinet minister Kailash Yadav died in February while bypoll in Bilari was necessitated following the death of 64-year-old Haji Irfan in a road accident on March 10.

In Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma, won the Tura Lok Sabha by-election by a huge margin of nearly two lakh votes to retain the seat held by his late father for over four decades. Conrad’s lone rival and CM Mukul Sangma’s wife Dikkanchi D Shira lost by over 1.92 lakh votes, the biggest margin by which Congress has ever lost in the parliamentary elections in the state.

So overwhelming was Congress’s defeat in Tura is that its candidate lost in 23 out of 24 Assembly segments, including 13 of the 14 segments represented by Congress legislators. Conrad’s victory was also celebrated by members of its main ally BJP and other regional parties.

However, in Jharkhand, BJP and Congress retained the Godda and Panki Assembly seats respectively. BJP’s Amit Mandal defeated RJD’s Sanjay Yadav by 34,551 votes from the Godda seat. From Panki, Congress’ Devendra Kumar Singh defeated JMM candidate Kushwaha Shashibhusan Mehta by 3,558 votes, Returning Officer Albert Bilung said.

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