Bypolls: BJP Wins Two Seats; LDF, Congress Bag One Each
A voter’s finger is marked with indelible ink after casting her vote at a polling station in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Bypolls: BJP Wins Two Seats; LDF, Congress Bag One Each

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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday emerged victorious in two of the four assembly constituencies where bypolls were held while the ruling Left Democratic Front wrested a seat in Kerala and the Congress consolidated its position in Chhattisgarh, winning Naxal-affected Dantewada.

BJP candidates won in Uttar Pradesh and Tripura defeating their Samajwadi Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) rivals respectively. LDF's Mani C Kappen defeated Jose Tom Pulikkunnel of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front in a closely-contested fight.

Kappen, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, defeated Pulikkunnel, a faction leader of the Kerala Congress (M), by 2,943 votes.

Pala was a bastion of the Congress-led UDF, held by veteran leader and former Finance Minister KM Mani for the past five decades.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of Mani in April. The win has come as a huge relief to the LDF after its rout in the Lok Sabha polls.

With this victory, the number of LDF Members of Legislative Assembly in the 140-member assembly has gone up to 91.

In Uttar Pradesh, BJP's Yuvraj Singh won the bypoll to the Hamirpur seat by a margin of over 17,846 votes, defeating Manoj Prajapati of the Samajwadi Party.

Singh secured 74,374 votes, while Prajapati got 56,528 votes, the Election Commission said.

The bye-election was held following the disqualification of BJP MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel after his conviction in a murder case.

Nine candidates, including the Congress's Hardeepak Nishad and Naushad Ali of the Bahujan Samaj Party, were in the poll fray.

BJP's candidate Mimi Majumder won the by-election to Badharghat (SC) Assembly constituency in Tripura defeating her nearest rival, CPI(M)'s Bulti Biswas, by 5,276 votes.

Congress nominee Ratan Chandra Das secured the third place.

The seat fell vacant due to the death of BJP MLA Dilip Sarkar in April.

Both the BJP and the CPI(M) got fewer votes in comparison to what they bagged in the assembly elections.

The ruling BJP has 36 seats in the assembly while its alliance partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura has eight in the 60-member house. Devti Karma of the Congress defeated Ojaswi Mandavi of the BJP by 11,192 votes to win the Dantewada assembly bypoll in Chhattisgarh. The ruling Congress now has 68 members in the 90-strong house.

Karma polled 50,028 votes while Mandavi got 38,836 votes.

The BJP had fielded Ojaswi in the seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, where bypoll was necessitated after her MLA husband Bhima Mandavi was killed in a Maoist attack in April, apparently in the hope of capitalising on sympathy vote.

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