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NEW DELHI : The BJP won an important by-election in Bihar, the first since the political re-alignment in the state, as results for six assembly by-polls across five states and one Lok Sabha seat were declared on Thursday

Incumbents won in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

In Uttar Pradesh, late SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav won in his parliamentary seat of Mainpuri, while the RLD beat the incumbent the BJP in Muzaffarnagar’s Khatauli, and the BJP pulled off an upset by beating the Samajwadi Party in Azam Khan’s bastion of Rampur.

Kurhani in Bihar was being keenly watched with this being the first time candidates from the erstwhile alliance of the JDU and the BJP had gone up against each other after chief minister Nitish Kumar abandoned his alliance with the BJP and formed a government with the RJD.

The by-poll was necessitated by the disqualification of Anil Kumar Sahani from the RJD.

Despite the JDU and the RJD joining forces, however, the BJP’s Kedar Prasad Gupta emerged victorious, beating the JDU’s Manoj Kushwaha Singh by less than 5,000 votes.

“The BJP won against an alliance of seven parties which wanted to play spoilsport. It is a victory of the party’s hard work," said BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal. JD(U) parliamentary board president Upendra Kushwaha tweeted, “We need to learn a lot from the loss in Kurhani. The first lesson is, we must follow the people and their will and not expect the other way round," Kushwaha tweeted.

In Chhattisgarh, the Congress retained the Bhanupratappur assembly by-poll, with Savitri Mandavi, wife of sitting MLA Manoj Mandavi, whose death necessitated the election, beating Brahamanand Netam of the BJP by 21,171 votes. The elections were marred by allegations of rape against Netam in Jharkhand, which then became a central issue in the elections.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, congratulating Mandavi on her victory, said the development of the area was a factor behind the Congress win.

In Odisha, BJD candidate Barsha Singh Bariha beat the BJP’s Pratap Purohit by a massive 42,769 votes.

The elections were significant because they came after the ruling party faced a setback in the Dhamnagar by-poll last month, where it was beaten by the BJP, its first by-poll loss since 2008. That prompted chief minister Naveen Patnaik to campaign for the BJD, his first such for three years.

In Rajasthan, Congress’s Anil Sharma won the Sardarshahar by-poll, beating the BJP’s Ashok Kumar by 26,852 votes.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that the win was a message from the people that the Congress would retain the state in 2023.

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