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Bypoll results: United opposition scores 11/14, limits BJP and allies to 3

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HIGHLIGHTS

The results appeared more slanted against the BJP after taking into account the parties that had won these seats before bypolls were necessitated.

Commenting on the results, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said one has to take two steps backward before a big leap.

NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW/MUMBAI/PATNA: In a big setback to the ruling BJP, opposition parties on Thursday won 11 bypolls, limiting the saffron party and its allies to just three. The opposition made impressive gains in the bypolls to four Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats spread across 11 states — riding high on strengthening non-BJP unity in run-up to the 2019 general elections.

With prestige at stake in every single bypoll, the BJP lost the high-profile Kairana Lok Sabha seat in politically important Uttar Pradesh to a united Opposition after a communally-charged election campaign. The party also lost the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra.

However, the BJP retained another Lok Sabha seat from Maharashtra, Palghar, where it had faced a challenge from its own ally Shiv Sena. BJP’s Rajendra Gavit won the seat defeating Shiv Sena’s Shrinivas Wanaga by 29574 votes. In Palghar, the opposition could not pose a united fight.

The fourth Lok Sabha seat, Nagaland, for which bypoll was held earlier this week went in favour of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), a BJP allly in the northeastern state.

While the Lok Sabha bypoll results appeared equally divided at 2-2 between the BJP-plus-allies and the opposition parties, figures for the 10 assembly bypolls came as a big setback for the ruling party which could manage just one (in Uttarakhand), while Congress bagged three (in Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab’s Shahkot) and others got six — JMM got two in Jharkhand, while CPM, SP, RJD and Trinamool one each in Kerala, UP, Bihar and West Bengal, respectively.

The results appeared more slanted against the BJP after taking into account the parties that had won these seats before bypolls were necessitated. While the BJP alliance retained two Lok Sabha seats — one in Maharashtra and another in Nagaland — it failed to retain two others — UP’s Kairana and Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondiya.

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