Dealing a blow to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, opposition parties today emerged victorious in 11 out of 14 Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls while limiting the saffron party and its allies to just three, and snatching the high-profile Kairana Parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh with a united force.
With prestige at stake in every single bypoll in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, the opposition leaders latched onto today's results across 11 states to claim sliding popularity of the Narendra Modi-led government, even as the BJP asserted that the PM – which it described as 'P' for performance and 'M' for Mehnat (hard work) – would decide the Lok Sabha polls next year.
However, opposition leaders saw a big boost for strengthening non-BJP unity with the ruling party losing Kairana Lok Sabha seat in the politically important UP to a united opposition after a communally-charged election campaign, while the result in the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra was similar.
The BJP retained another Lok Sabha seat from Maharashtra, Palghar, where it had faced its own ally Shiv Sena, but the Opposition could not put a united fight. BJP's Rajendra Gavit won the seat, defeating Shiv Sena's Shrinivas Wanaga.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, however, alleged "discrepancies" in counting of votes for Palghar.
In Nagaland, the fourth Lok Sabha seat for which bypoll was held on Monday, went to BJP's ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
While the Lok Sabha bypoll results were equally divided at 2-2 between the BJP-led alliance and the opposition parties, figures for the 10 assembly bypolls came as a big setback for the ruling party which could win just one (in Uttarakhand). The Congress bagged three (in Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab) and others got six -- JMM two in Jharkhand; CPI (M), SP, RJD and Trinamool one each in Kerala, UP, Bihar and West Bengal, respectively.
The Congress also won one assembly seat in Maharashtra without contest after all other parties withdrew their candidates.
The Congress, which retained RR Nagar assembly in Karnataka and another in Meghalaya, termed the bypoll results as the people's mandate against four years of the Modi rule and the beginning of the end of the BJP empire.
Is the BJP in trouble.. is the party's popularity sliding? Is the Modi wave waning? These are some of the questions being asked after results in the 14 bypoll elections. Watch this conversation with Congress Spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, BJP Spokesperson Sudesh Verma and Sanjay Pugalia, Editorial Director Quintillion Media on what this means for the 2019 elections.