BJP suffers from by-poll jinx ahead of 2019

Has consistently lost in every Lok Sabha by-election in last six months

GN Bureau | March 15, 2018


#Akhilesh Yadav   #By-elections   #Rajasthan   #Uttar Pradesh   #BJP   #Politics   #Mayawati  
BJP suffers from by-poll jinx ahead of 2019 (Illustration: Ashish Asthana)
BJP suffers from by-poll jinx ahead of 2019 (Illustration: Ashish Asthana)

It seems that the road ahead to 2019 elections is not going to be a smooth one for the BJP. In the past six months, the party has conclusively lost in every by-poll to Lok Sabha. Wednesday’s losses in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are only the latest in a series of seven parliamentary by-polls of the past six months.

What is surprising is that the party, which is otherwise on a victory march to win new territories in the northeast, has come to lose even in Gorakhpur, a constituency where the BJP was invincible for decades and from where Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was an MP for five terms. Similarly, Phulpur, in the same state, was previously held by the BJP – by Keshav Prasad Maurya who is now deputy CM, but now has reverted to the Samajwadi Party.

The third seat in Wednesday’s vote count, Araria in Bihar, was retained by Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. The by-poll was necessitated by the death of Mohammed Taslimuddin. The BJP had won from here in 1998, 2004 and 2009.

Among the other by-polls of the recent months, Gurdaspur in Punjab was a shocker for the party. Actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna had remained four-time MP from this seat. In the October by-poll after Khanna’s death in April, Sunil Jakhar of Congress emerged victorious. This was also the first major election in Punjab after the state had voted out the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal, leading to the Congress victory.

The BJP suffered a double whammy in Rajasthan in January, as the Congress wrested both the Alwar and Ajmer seats, which were previously held by it. Coming ahead of the assembly elections later this year, this was as an ominous sign for the Vasundhara Raje government.

In West Bengal TMC retained Uluberia seat, leaving the BJP in the second spot. The seat was lying vacant after the death of TMC’s Sultan Ahmed in September. His wife, Sajda Ahmed, swept the by-polls in January.

There is one by-poll pending, in Anantnag of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been vacant since July 4, 2016 after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti took over as the CM. Her brother Mufti Tassaduq Hussain is tipped to contest from the seat. The Election Commission first scheduled the by-polls on April 12 but then postponed it to May 25, citing violence and protests in the state. The poll panel is yet to come out with a new date.

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