United opposition gets NCP victory in Bhandara-Gondiya bypoll
NCP candidate Madhukar Kukde emerged victorious in the bypoll, with a lead of 48,097 votes over BJP’s Hemant Patle.Updated: Jun 01, 2018 10:37 IST
Victory in the Lok Sabha bypoll at Bhandara-Gondiya may give the Opposition, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a much-needed boost in Maharashtra. What makes the win even more significant is that the Bhandara-Gondiya constituency is located in Vidarbha region, a stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
NCP candidate Madhukar Kukde emerged victorious in the bypoll, with a lead of 48,097 votes over BJP’s Hemant Patle. The bypoll had to be held after sitting BJP MP Nana Patole revolted against the party and resigned in December last year. Patole attacked the BJP leadership, calling it “anti-farmers”, while submitting his resignation. He later joined Congress, the party he had quit ahead of the 2014 elections. Patole had resolved to defeat the BJP candidate in the bypoll held on May 28, and in order to achieve it, he even buried his differences with NCP leader Praful Patel, who he had defeated in 2014.
The Congress agreed to let NCP contest at Bhandara-Gondiya as part of their electoral agreement for 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Political analysts attributed the NCP’s victory to “a united opposition”. The Congress and NCP had fought separately in the 2014 Assembly elections over “trust deficit”, but they reunited recently to fight the BJP. The Congress and NCP have already announced that they will be contesting all future elections together.
“Both parties [Congress and NCP] sincerely fought against BJP by highlighting the failure of the government in containing the agrarian crisis,” said a Congress leader. “This could set new equations of the alliance in the state in the forthcoming general elections. The victory is on similar lines of what has happened at Kairana in Uttar Pradesh.”
NCP leader Ajit Pawar said his party will not support BJP if Shiv Sena decides to pull out of the government. Commenting on the Palghar bypoll, state Congress chief Ashok Chavan said had like-minded parties supported them, their candidate would have won. “All like-minded parties will come together for the Palghar seat in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Bhandara-Gondiya was the victory of unity of opposition,” Chavan said.
Congress and NCP had come to power in the state in 2004 and 2009, when they contested Assembly elections together. They also managed to win sizeable number of Lok Sabha seats as alliance partners.