Mumbai/New Delhi: Ahead of the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan later this year, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost the recent bypolls in both states against its arch political rival Congress.

The bypoll results are significant because the BJP is in power in the two states and Congress is the immediate challenger to the ruling party.

On Wednesday, the Congress won the Mungaoli and Kolaras seats in Madhya Pradesh by 2,124 and 8,000 votes, respectively, against the BJP.

While the two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh were held by Congress before the polls, the win for the opposition party in Lok Sabha constituencies of Ajmer and Alwar in Rajasthan earlier this month are important as the two seats were won by BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

“The bypoll results are a setback simply because the states are going to polls by year-end and a victory would have created a more favourable political environment for the BJP. There is going to be a direct contest against Congress. While there is fear of anti-incumbency for the BJP, the Congress is facing factionalism in the two states," said a senior BJP leader, who is based in Bhopal.

The results of two assembly bypolls in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday have also energized the opposition Congress party in the state. Even though these seats were won by the Congress in 2013 assembly elections by much bigger margins, the results are important as they come ahead of the assembly elections scheduled in November 2018.

“The biggest problem in both the by-elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh was that chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje had made the by-elections a prestige issue and campaigned for the BJP candidate for several days," said the BJP leader quoted earlier, on the condition of anonymity.

Several Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh, including leader of opposition Ajay Singh, said the role of Congress MP from Guna Jyotiraditya Scindia was key in securing the twin wins in the state.

The bypoll victories on Wednesday come on the back of the Congress win in Ater and Chitrakoot assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh last year. Both these seats too were held by the Congress before the bypolls.