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Major setback for Modi in assembly by-elections

Rival Congress party’s revival witnessed in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Rajasthan

New Delhi: India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of its rivals in the assembly by-elections within four months of its resounding victory in the general elections.

The BJP failed to retain 14 seats and could win just 12 seats in the by-elections held on Saturday to fill 33 vacancies across nine states.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi could never have expected such a pre-birthday gift from his fellow Gujarat voters on his maiden visit to his home state since taking over as the prime minister in May as the rival Congress party romped home by snatching three seats from the BJP. Modi’s only consolation was that the BJP managed to retain two seats vacated by the Prime Minister.

BJP won the Vadodra Lok Sabha seat vacated by Modi and retained Maninagar assembly seat which Modi had won repeatedly in the past.

BJP had swept Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat as voters of the state ensured BJP’s victory on all 26 parliamentary seats to ensure a fellow Gujarati (Modi) becomes the prime minister.

The same trend was witnessed in Uttar Pradesh where the state’s ruling Samajwadi Party not only managed to retain the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat but also succeeded in snatching eight seats from BJP leaving the BJP feel content with just three seats. Ten state lawmakers of BJP, along with one of its regional ally Apna Dal, had resigned after they were elected to the Lok Sabha. Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat was among the five seats the Samajwadi Party had won in the general elections as BJP had swept Uttar Pradesh by winning 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats while ally Apna Dal won two.

The BJP’s misery was completed in the desert state Rajasthan as the rival Congress party won three of the four seats leaving the state’s high profile chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia red-faced after BJP’s clean sweep in May general elections where it won all 25 parliamentary seats.

The only good news for the party came from two eastern states West Bengal and Assam where it won one seat each. For the first time ever BJP managed to win a seat in West Bengal on its own. It had last won any seat in the state in 1999 as a junior partner of the Trinamool Congress which won the other seat.

Bad news started coming for the BJP as soon as counting for 32 assembly and three Lok Sabha seats started Tuesday morning. Counting for lone seat of Chhattisgarh will take place on Saturday. The results were seen as a reality test for Modi and his close aide Amit Shah who is now the national president of BJP.

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17.09.2014 (17.09.2014)
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