The contest, and the consequences

By polls give some solace to Congress but BJP needs to rework its strategy in Tamil Nadu
"Mamata Banerjee is upset over the success of Congress and left parties in West Bengal, as it has halted her winning spree and posed danger for retaining the dominance in 2024 parliamentary polls." [Representational Image]
"Mamata Banerjee is upset over the success of Congress and left parties in West Bengal, as it has halted her winning spree and posed danger for retaining the dominance in 2024 parliamentary polls." [Representational Image] Special arrangement

Amidst the BJP success in north-east, by polls results in different states reflected mixed trend which might give some sense of satisfaction to beleaguered Congress and reason to ponder the loss of Kasba in Pune to the ruling coalition of BJP and Shinde faction.

Congress gave set back to Saffron party in Maharashtra by winning Chinchwad-Kasba Peth after a gap of 28 years and gave rude shock to Mamata Banerjee when it bagged Sagardighi constituency in West Bengal with the support if left besides retaining Erode seat in Tamil Nadu with the help of DMK.

Mamata Banerjee is upset over the success of Congress and left parties in West Bengal, as it has halted her winning spree and posed danger for retaining the dominance in 2024 parliamentary polls.

Similarly, BJP faces dilemma in Tamil Nadu as it had put its weight behind O Panneerselvam, (OPS) who has been rendered as irrelevant after losing supremacy battle in supreme court which ensured the emergence of Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), AIADMK as real powerful leader in the party.

BJP, however, won one seat in Maharashtra besides bagging its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) in Jharkhand. BJP also won Lumla seat in Arunachal Pradesh as its candidate Tsering Lhamu was declared elected as MLA without a contest on February 10. She is the widow of the former MLA Jambey Tashi, whose death in November last year necessitated the by-poll.

Direct contest between BJP-Shinde alliance and MVA

It was matter of prestige for BJP-Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Congress nominee who was supported by Udhav Thakre’s Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendera Fadnavis had extensively campaigned in Maharashtra by-polls for their respective candidates.

Experts say that it would be encouraging for Udhav Thakre who had received a setback after the election commission declared Eknath Shinde’s outfit as real one.

Similarly, Congress was wiped out in north east assembly polls but by polls results will give some solace to the party. Jairam Ramesh Congress general secretary, communications, said that the by-polls results were “encouraging” though party’s performance was dismal in the Assembly elections of three northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

It was after a long gap of twenty-eight years that Congress candidate, Ravindra Dhangekar defeated the nominee of BJP which could ensure the victory of its candidate in Chinchwad assembly constituency in Pune. The by-election was the result of the death of incumbent BJP MLAs Mukta Tilak.

Banerjee gets rude shock

It was bad news for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as she failed to ensure the victory of her candidate in Sagardighi seat.

The by-election was necessitated following the death of state minister Subrata Saha in December 2022 hence it was considered as stronghold of TMC.

Baffled over the defeat, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo, Banerjee alleged an “immoral” alliance of the Congress, CPI-M and the BJP for the party’s crushing defeat. She said, “for the Sagardighi loss, I do not blame anyone.

But there is an immoral alliance between Congress and Left which is condemnable. She alleged that BJP transferred its votes to the Congress and everyone played the communal card. The BJP, of course, played the communal card and Congress, CPI(M) turned out to be bigger players in this regard.” Congress state leader and MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hailed Biswas' win and hit out at the TMC alleging that the party “acts as an agent of BJP.

“Earlier, TMC defeated Congress many times by torturing people with the help of police. As I had said Congress is not going to lose and it has been proved. TMC has betrayed Muslims and Muslims in Bengal know that TMC acts as an agent of BJP. Muslims can be cheated once but not always.”

Erode East by-election result gave a setback to OPS led AIADMK. The ruling DMK of M.K.Stalin was successful in keeping OPS led AIADMK at length as it could ensure the success of Congress candidate, EVKS Elangovan who won in the Erode East by-election and defeated KS Thennarasu from the AIADMK party.

BJP did not concede defeat when its president K Annamalai said that he did not see it as an endorsement of the government’s performance and indicated impact of sympathy” factor which apparently worked in favor of Elangovan who happened to be the father of E Thirumahan Everaa, the Congress MLA whose demise in January necessitated the by-election.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin felt that the victory has laid the foundation for an even bigger victory for the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Analysts opine that All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) had recently emerged as King thereby relegating Bharatiya Janata Party backed faction headed by O Panneerselvam, (OPS) to the ground which could be attributed to the recent supreme court verdict thereby the recognition of EPS as interim general secretary.

The by-poll result may lead to change in the strategy of BJP which will have to abandon OPS and align with EPS to give fight to DMK-Congress combine in Tamil Nadu which got morale booster after retaining its hold.

(K.S. TOMAR is national columnist and political analyst)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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