The ruling BJP in Karnataka suffered a jolt in the Bellary by-election on Sunday even as the Congress won one seat each in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, where it broke an almost 30-year jinx.
Backed by mining barons, the Reddy brothers, B Sriramulu, a former BJP minister, scored a massive win as an independent from the Bellary (rural) seat. BJP candidate Gadi Lingappa lost his deposit and was relegated to the third place behind the Congress.
Sriramulu got 46,790 votes. The Congress managed 27,737 votes and the BJP 17,366.
The Bellary by-election was seen as a straight fight between the Reddy brothers — Janardhana, Karunakara and Somashekara — and the BJP. Before falling out with the BJP, the brothers were credited with having played a key role in giving the party its only government in the South.
In Haryana, the Congress won the Ratia seat in Fatehabad district after 29 years. Party candidate Jarnail Singh beat Indian National Lok Dal candidate Sarfi Devi by 12,703 votes. The win took the ruling Congress’s tally to 46 in the 90-member assembly, giving it a simple majority on its own.
The Congress had won Ratia seat only once in 1982, that too by a margin of less than 200 votes.
The win comes as a morale booster for chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who had faced internal bickering after the party lost the Hisar Lok Sabha seat by-election in October.
The Congress, however, lost the Adampur seat to the Haryana Janhit Congress-BJP candidate, Renuka Bishnoi. She beat Congress candidate Kulvir Singh Beniwal by 22,669 votes.
Close fight in Himachal Pradesh
In Himachal Pradesh, Congress managed to draw level with the ruling BJP, which also won a seat. Both parties won their seats in each other’s strongholds. BJP’s Hirday Ram defeated Congress’s Vinay Kumar in Renuka (reserved) constituency by over 3,500 votes. Kumar is the son of the late Prem Singh, who won from this seat on Congress ticket six times.
In Nalagarh constituency of Solan district, Congress’s Lakhwinder Rana defeated Gurnam Kaur of the BJP by over 1,500 votes. Kaur is the wife of the late HN Saini, who represented the seat three times.
Ruling parties win in Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha
The Janata Dal-United in Bihar won the Laukaha seat by trouncing the Rashtriya Janata Dal by over 22,000 votes.
In neighbouring Jharkhand, JMM — an ally of the ruling BJP — retained the Mandu seat, defeating the Congress by more than 23,000 votes.
In Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal won Umerkote seat in Nabrangpur district by defeating the BJP by more than 20,000 votes.
The by-elections were held November 30.
(with inputs from agencies)