Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi established his ascendancy in the state after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won five of the seven byelections to the state Assembly on Monday. The Congress won two seats.
The victory must have been sweet after the BJP fared below expectations in the last Lok Sabha elections and lost the municipal polls in Junagadh in August. The BJP had won 15 of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state though party leaders had expected more than 20.
Monday’s results must have been even sweeter for Modi as all five Assembly seats won by the BJP were wrested from the Congress.
Thundered Modi at a victory rally, “I want to warn all those forces who are always in search for a factor to tarnish the image of Gujarat: You should realise the people of Gujarat support us strongly.”
Said a senior state Congress leader who did not want to be named, “With this defeat we have not only added to Modi’s charisma but given him another chance to lord it over us.”
“We fell short of expectations. We could have selected better candidates. There is a need to evaluate the situation and take corrective measures,” state Congress chief Siddharth Patel said.
In Uttarakhand, the BJP won the only Assembly bypoll for which results were announced on Monday, giving the party a slender majority of 36 in a House of 70.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP and Congress bagged one seat each in the two Assembly bypolls. In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress retained the single Assembly seat.
(With inputs from Dehradun, Bhopal & Hyderabad)