Results of bye-elections held today will indicate Opposition's standing in run up to 2024 polls
Observers believe that the results will indicate whether the BJP is in a position to take on the resurgent Opposition in the runup to the General Election due in 2024
The bye-elections to seven Assembly seats in six states were held on Thursday, in the run up to the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Observes believe that the results, which will be declared on November 6, will not only decide whether regional parties can halt BJP’s juggernaut in their respective areas and present an alternative before 2024 Lok Sabha polls or not, but also the BJP’s strength and ability to defend its turf from rising anti-incumbency factor and an aggressive Opposition.
Out of the seven seats, last BJP held three, the Congress two and the RJD and Shiv Sens had one seat each.
Here is why the stakes are high for the BJP as well as the regional parties:
Gola Gokarnath (Uttar Pradesh)
Necessitated by the death of the BJP MLA Arvind Giri, the contest for the Gola Gokarnath seat is being seen as a prestige battle between the SP and the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP and the Congress have stayed away from the contest, making it a direct contest between the SP and the BJP.
UP watchers say that if SP emerges victorious, it will reaffirm that the ruling BJP failed in maintaining the law and order situation in the district, but if the BJP wins, it will indicate that there is no threat to its Hindutva card.
Gola Gokarnath falls in Lakhimpur Kheri where Ashish Mishra, son of Union Cabinet minister Ajay Teni allegedly mowed down farmers in 2021.
Necessitated by the death of BJP MLA Subhash Singh, the bye-election in Gopalganj is being described as a contest between 'ex-RJD' and the RJD.
Party supremo Lalu Prasad’s brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, who was an RJD MP, has fielded his wife on a BSP ticket. He is pitted against RJD's Mohan Gupta.
Combining Yadav and Muslim votes with Kurmi votes, the RJD hopes to wrest the seat from the BJP. The BJP, on the other hand, hopes to play the role of a spoiler. Bihar watchers say the saffron party has been relegated to the third position.
Interestingly, despite heading the Mahagathbandhan government, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has stayed away from the campaign.
The bye-election in the home turf of the RJD strongman Anant Singh was necessitated following his conviction under the Arms Act.
This is the first time the BJP has thrown its hat in the fray and fielded another strongman, Lalan Singh’s wife against the wife of Anant Singh. Anant Singh has been winning the seat since 2005.
Anant Singh and Lalan Singh both come from the powerful Bhumihar community. A victory for the BJP will show that Bhumihars – who voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha – chose it over the RJD in the Assembly bypoll as well.
This seat was held and nurtured by former CM Haryana Bhajan Lal's son Kuldeep Bishnoi, who switched over to the BJP in August this year.
While the ruling alliance has fielded Bishnoi’s son Bhavya, the Congress is represented by Jai Prakash.
If Bishnoi wins the bypoll, it will reduce BJP’s dependence on the JJP; if the Congress emerges victorious, it will boost the stature of the Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Since it came to power in October 2019, the BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) coalition has lost two Assembly by-polls it has faced despite fielding well-known faces.
Andheri East (Maharashtra)
After the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, this is the first election where the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena will face the people.
In the absence of any strong contender (the BJP withdrew its candidate Murji Patel following appeals from the MNS and the NCP, among others), a victory for the Sena's candidate is almost certain.
The bypoll became necessary following the sudden demise of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke, whose widow Rutuja is contesting for the party.
The bypoll became necessary because the Congress MLA Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy joined the BJP.
The high-stakes battle is important for both the BJP and the ruling TRS. While the TRS wants to halt the expanding footprint of the BJP, the saffron party is trying to prove that it is a force to reckon with.
The Congress, the primary Opposition party, seems to have been relegated to the third position.
Necessitated by the death of the BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi in September, the bye-election for this seat is seen as a prestige battle for both the BJP and the ruling BJD.
While the BJP hopes to retain the seat, the BJD is hopeful of adding another seat to its tally in the Odisha assembly seat. Pertinently, the BJD has won all five bypolls held in the state since 2019.