BJP sweeps Gujarat, Congress suffers in by-polls

Gandhinagar/Kolkata/Patna, June 5 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was a major gainer in Wednesday's Lok Sabha by-poll vote count as it wrested two seats in Gujarat from the Congress, which drew a blank in two other states as well.

Putting up a spectacular show in the western state, the BJP also made a clean sweep in the assembly by-polls snatching four seats held by the Congress in Morva-Hadaf, Limbdi, Dhoraji and Jetpur.

The Lok Sabha by-polls, coming about a year before the nation is scheduled to hold fresh general elections, saw the Trinamool retaining Howrah in West Begnal while the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD had its candidate re-elected in Bihar's Maharajganj.

But Gujarat threw the biggest surprises with the BJP snatching both the Porbandar and Nansarkantha seats from the Congress.

In Porbandar, former Congress legislator and BJP nominee Vithal Radadiya secured a massive 1.34 lakh margin, defeating his nearest Congress rival Vinu Ampara.

The Banaskantha by-poll saw BJP's Hari Chaudhary notching a 71,000 vote victory against Congress' Krishna Gadhvi, the widow of former sitting party legislator Mukesh Gadhvi.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the people had rejected the Congress wholesale.

"These victories clearly show (that) people are fed up with the Congress. This indicates how people have lost trust in the centre and want change desperately," he tweeted.

In the Congress bastion Morva-Hadaf, BJP's Nimisha Suthar defeated Bhupendra Khant of Congress by nearly 18,000 votes.

Congress' Satish Patel bit the dust as the BJP's Kiritsinh Rana trounced him by over 24,000 votes at Limbdi.

Dhoraji also voted the BJP way when its Pravin Mankadiya wrested the seat from his Congress rival Hari Patel by a margin of over 11,000 votes.

Jetpur also nodded for the BJP's Jayesh Radadiya who trounced his nearest Congress rival Jagdish Pambhar by over 52,000 votes.

The BJP strength in the assembly has now risen from 115 to 119 and its Lok Sabha tally from Gujarat from 15 to 17.

In West Bengal, ruling Trinamool Congress retained Howrah, with former international footballer Prasun Banerjee defeating Left Front spearhead CPI-M's Sridip Bhattacharya by 27,015 votes.

The Trinamool now has 19 members in the Lok Sabha.

Congress candidate Sanatan Mukherjee finished a distant third in the June 2 by-election necessitated by the death of Trinamool MP Ambica Banerjee.

Gloating over her party's success, Trinamool chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: "jo jita wo sikandar (the victorious is the king)" and described the Howrah by-poll results as a new chapter in West Bengal politics. She also claimed voters have endorsed her decision to go it alone.

Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) suffered its first ever by-poll loss in eight years when RJD's Prabhunath Singh won the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat in a by-election by a whopping 137,000 votes.

Prabhunath Singh defeated P.K. Shahi of JD-U. The seat fell vacant after the death of RJD MP Umashankar Singh.

The Congress had fielded Jitendra Swami, who lost his security deposit.

In Uttar Pradesh, ruling Samajwadi Party retained the Handia assembly seat in Allahabad, with its candidate Prashant Kumar defeating his nearest opponent Bahujan Samaj Party's Pankaj Tripathi by over 26,000 votes.

The by-poll was necessitated after the death of Prashant's father Mahesh Narayan Singh.

The BJP candidate came third, while the Congress was fourth with its candidate losing his security deposit.

The Congress claimed success in the Yavatmal assembly seat in Maharashtra, where its candidate Nandini Parvekar defeated the nearest BJP candidate Madan Yerawarby over 15,000 votes to retain the seat for the party.


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