NEW DELHI :
The results of the two key assembly bypolls announced on Thursday were a mixed bag for the Congress. The party won the Ramgarh seat in Rajasthan to reach the halfway mark in the 200-member legislative assembly. However, its star candidate and chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala lost the Jind seat in Haryana to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot had formed the government in Rajasthan with a thin majority, after the Congress won 99 seats in the assembly elections last month, while its alliance partner, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), won one seat.
On Thursday, Shafia Zubair of the Congress won the Ramgarh seat to take the ruling alliance past the halfway mark to 101 seats. Zubair defeated her rival from the BJP by 12,228 votes. There were 18 other candidates in the fray. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which had offered support to the Congress to form the government in Rajasthan, lost its deposit.
“We were already preparing for the Lok Sabha elections. I am very happy that the public has taken the right decision. Our Mission-25 to win all Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan has got the right signal from the people of Ramgarh," Gehlot said.
In the Haryana bypoll, BJP’s Krishan Middha won the Jind seat by 12,935 votes, defeating Digvijay Chautala of the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the main opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Surjewala of the Congress, the sitting member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Kaithal, bagged the third spot.
“People rose above caste lines to vote in favour of development and have given a befitting reply to those who are doing politics by dividing people," Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar tweeted.
“This was a multi-polar contest and the BJP won with the consolidation of non-Jat votes. Candidates of all the three opposition parties—Congress, INLD and JJP—were from the Jat community and so the votes got divided," a senior Congress leader said, requesting anonymity.