New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) each retained two parliamentary seats and the Congress extended its run of electoral reverses in bypolls to the Lok Sabha and assembly seats held on the weekend.
The BJP retained its seats in Shahdol (Madhya Pradesh) and Lakhimpur (Assam). The TMC emerged triumphant in Coochbehar and Tamluk, both in West Bengal, where it is the governing party, according to results announced on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people for expressing “continued faith” in the BJP and its “unwavering focus on development and good governance” after the party also scored victories in bypolls in Arunachal Pradesh and performed well in West Bengal and Tripura.
“I thank people for the continued faith in BJP and in the BJP’s unwavering focus on development and good governance,” Modi said.
Elsewhere, in state assembly byelections, ruling parties performed well in their pocket-boroughs.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won three seats in Tamil Nadu, Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, won two seats in Tripura and BJP and Congress won one seat each in Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry.
The Congress party’s lone win in the bypolls was notched up by Puducherry chief minister V. Narayanasamy, who won the Nellithope assembly constituency. It was the only party which saw a decline in the number of assembly seats—it lost one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura.
Tuesday’s win bolsters the BJP’s attempt to increase its political footprint in the north-east at the cost of the Congress.
“We agree that we lost these seats but we gave a good fight. BJP is not doing fair politics but we are hopeful that we will improve our standing in these states in the coming days,” a senior Congress leader working in the north-eastern states said on condition of anonymity.
Interestingly, both the BJP and the TMC have claimed their win vindicates their stand on the demonetization issue.
“BJP’s victory in by-polls is a clear indication that people are fully supporting the decision to demonetize Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. It is people’s mandate for the prime minister’s decision of demonetization,” Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal told reporters.
“The byelection result is a befitting reply against the anti-people demonetization by the centre. It’s a people’s revolt... BJP should take lessons from this mandate,” said West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
“Voters in north-east usually have a tendency to go with the ruling party and that is what we have seen happening today (Tuesday). It is not as much a setback for Congress because trend shows that north-east, particularly in byelections, goes with the ruling party in the respective states,” said Jai Mrug, a Mumbai based political analyst.
Arkamoy Dutta Majumdar in Kolkata, Dharani Thangavelu in Chennai, Abhiram Ghadyalpatil in Mumbai and PTI contributed to this story.