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Modi swings Guj win as Lalu pips Nitish in Bihar

Election watch: First defeat in eight years for JDU, mixed bag for Congress and a shot in the arm for BJP, TMC and SP.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2013 02:00 IST

Ahmedabad: The ruling BJP swept in the July 2 by-polls in Gujarat, wresting two parliamentary seats and four assembly seats from the Congress and boosting the chorus for a national role for chief minister Narendra Modi.

Modi, who was so confident of victory that he did not even campaign for the nominees, termed the verdict a "reflection of public anger" and an "ultimatum" to the Congress ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The by-polls were held for the parliamentary seats Porbandar and Banaskantha and assembly seats Limbadi, Jetpur, Dhoraji and Morvahadaf. The Porbandar Lok Sabha seat was won by Vithalbhai Radadia. Radadia, who had won the assembly polls from Dhoraji -- and his son Jayesh from Jepur - on Congress ticket, had since switched camps. The BJP had welcomed them with open arms, considering Radadia's base in the politically significant Saurashtra.

Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat had fallen vacant after the death of sitting Congress MP Mukesh Gadhavi. The seat was considered the pocket borough of the Gadhavi family, but his widow Krishnaben Gadhavi lost it to BJP's Haribhai Chaudhary.

The Congress even failed to retain the Limbadi assembly seat, which it had wrested from the BJP in the recent assembly polls. The elected MLA, Somabhai Patel, resigned as an MLA to continue representing Surendranagar Lok Sabha seat. Now Somabhai's son Satish lost to BJP's Kiritsinh Rana, who held the seat before Somabhai. In Dhoraji, the seat vacated by Radadia after he quit the Congress, BJP's Pravin Mankadia beat his Congress rival Haribhai Patel. BJP's Nimishaben Suthar won from the tribal reserved seat Morvahadaf.

Following the results, state Congress chief Arjun Modhvadia admitted that despite the "massive failure of the state to provide water, fodder and employment in the drought-hit areas," the party has failed to motivate the people to vote against the BJP.

For Modi, the victory came at the right time as the party executive is to hold a two-day meet in Goa from June 7.

Patna/Chhapra: The JD(U) tasted its first defeat in eight years in the Maharajganj Lok Sabha by-poll, held on June 2. The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) -- whose candidate, three-time MP Prabhunath Singh, won by a margin of over 1.37 lakh votes -- hailed it as a sign of times to come.

Singh defeated his nearest rival, JD(U) education minister Prashant Kumar Shahi, by 1.37 lakh votes. Congress nominee Jitendra Swami was a poor third.

For the JD(U), it was a double whammy. Not only did its candidate lose, it was painfully obvious that the lack of BJP's wholehearted support for Shahi, contributed to the defeat. And things may not change for the better – given JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar's resistance to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's prime ministerial ambitions, the BJP is likely to stay peeved.

Though the JD(U) leadership remained guarded while reacting to the defeat – Kumar, who was in Delhi, did not comment -- Shahi did underline that his loss had much to do with the internal rift between the JD(U) and BJP.

"The local workers of the BJP were less enthusiastic in the polls," he said.

Uttar Pradesh
Allahabad: The Samajwadi Party, which has been in power in UP for a year without any major controversy, has retained the Handia assembly seat in the June 2 byelection.

Party candidate Prashant Kumar Singh defeated his nearest rival Pankaj Tripathi of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) by 25,817 votes.

Barring the BSP, the security deposits of the rest of the 11 candidates, including that of the Congress and the BJP, were forfeited. Congress candidate Amrit Lal Bind could not even get 3,000 votes and BJP candidate Vidya Kant Tewari had to rest content with fewer than 4,000 votes.

Mahesh Narain Singh had won the seat in the 2012 assembly elections on the SP ticket. Following his death in 2013, the party decided to field his son Prashant in the by-election.

West Bengal
Howrah: The Trinamool overcame several adversities and retained the Howrah Lok Sabha constituency with ruling party candidate Prasun Banerjee, former national captain in football, defeating his nearest rival Sridip Bhattacharya of the CPI(M) by more than 27,000 votes.

The poll, which took place before the panchayat election in July, has come as a shot in the arm for the Trinamool, which was facing the adverse impact of the unravelling of Ponzi scams and a split with the Congress, its erstwhile ally.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the results proved the party could move ahead with the "ekla cholo" (go alone) policy.

"We will sweep the upcoming panchayat polls," said Mamata Banerjee.

Nagpur: The ruling Congress has retained the Yavatmal assembly seat of Maharashtra. The party's candidate, Nandini Parvekar, widow of the former Congress MLA Nilesh Parvekar, whose death in a road accident necessitated the by-election, defeated her nearest rival, Madan Yerawar of the BJP, by a margin of over 15,000 votes.

According to Wednesday evening's reports, Parvekar secured 62,509 votes while Yerawar got 47,276. Only 37.5% voters responded to the by-polls, which was also the lowest voter turnout for Yavatmal. The poor turnout was attributed to voters' disinterest, the scorching summer heat and the ongoing wedding season.

In 2009, Nilesh Parvekar had contested the assembly elections on a Congress ticket and dislodged sitting BJP MLA Yerawar by over 36,500 votes.

First Published: Jun 06, 2013 00:44 IST