BJP faces setback in bypolls as Opposition unity works  

Opposition unity is showing its results in the by-elections to four parliamentary and ten assembly constituencies in India.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is heading the federal government and most state governments in north, suffered a big blow when its candidate Mriganka Singh lost to Tabassum Hasan of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD or National People’s Party) in Kairana Lok Sabha by-election. Hasan was supported by Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (SP) and Congress. Uttar Pradesh, Indian’s largest state, sends some 70 lawmakers to Parliament.

Hasan told ANI truth has won and the path is clear for the united opposition ahead of 2019 general elections.

In Noorpur assembly by-election in Uttar Pradeh, SP’s Naeemul Hasan won the elections by defeating his nearest rival Avni Singh of BJP . Hasan was backed by Congress and BSP.

Although rivals, SP and BJP had come together to beat their common enemy BJP in its strongholds Gorakhpur and Phulpur earlier this year.

In another big state Bihar, former scandal-tainted chief minister Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) won Jokihat assembly seat defeating Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United candidate by over 41,000 votes. Here, RJD was backed by SP, BSP and Congress.

The BJP retained Maharashtra’s Palghar Lok Sabha seat but it lost Bhandara-Gondia constituency to Nationalist Congress Party.

The Congress won in Meghalaya’s Ampati and became the state’s single largest party.

Of the 10 assembly seats where by-polls were held, the Communist party of India won in Kerala’s Chengannur, the Congress in Punjab’s Shahkot and Karnataka’s Rajarajeshwarinagar, BJP in Uttarakhand’s Tharali constituency and Trinamool Congress in Bengal’s Maheshtala. Regional party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha retained  Silli and Gomia seats in Jharkhand.

Locals factors determine the success or failure of a party in by-elections and it is incorrect to see it as the general mood of voters ahead of 2019 national elections. Media still viewed Kairana Lok Sabha by-election as a litmus test.  Since the Opposition won the seat on Thursday, BJP has reason to worry.