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Jolt to Raje govt as Congress sweeps all 3 Rajasthan bypolls

The results will add to the worries of the BJP that is battling growing farmer unrest, government employees’ unhappiness over salaries, cow vigilante attacks and anger over the film Padmaavat.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 19:45 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan,Rajasthan Bypoll,Congress
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje during Republic Day function in Bharatpur on January 26, 2018. (PTI)

The Congress routed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in all three bypolls in Rajasthan on Thursday, a jolt to chief minister Vasundhara Raje ahead of the state polls later this year.

The Congress’ Vivek Dhakad defeated the BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada in the Mandalgarh assembly seat by 12,976 votes. The presence of a Congress rebel candidate appeared to have hurt the ruling saffron party most.

Congress’ Karan Singh Yadav won the Alwar Lok Sabha seat, defeating the BJP’s Jaswant Yadav by 196,496 votes. In Ajmer, the Raghu Sharma led Congress to victory over BJP’s Ramswaroop Lamba, winning the seat by 84,414 votes.

The BJP had held all three seats.

The BJP’s showing is likely to hurt Raje because her party couldn’t take the lead in any of the 17 assembly segments despite a high-voltage campaign by her and senior ministers.

Even on urban seats which are seen as strongholds of the BJP, the party failed to take leads.

The results will add to the worries of the BJP that is battling growing farmer unrest, government employees’ unhappiness over salaries, cow vigilante attacks and Rajput anger over the Bollywood film Padmaavat.

In 2013, the BJP had won 163 seats in the 200-member assembly while the Congress managed just 21. In Lok Sabha polls the next year, the BJP swept all 25 seats.

The three victories will buoy the Congress that is vying to return to power in assembly elections scheduled later this year.

“The mood of the people is against the BJP,” state Congress chief Sachin Pilot said at a press conference. The impressive showing is expected to make him a strong contender to be declared the party’s chief ministerial candidate.

The party had also performed better than the BJP in local body elections last year, winning 19 out of 37 seats while the BJP won 10. Congress also snatched all four zila parishad seats from the BJP.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 18:00 IST