Bengal bye elections: The Trinamool Congress won all three constituencies where bye elections were held on November 25. The TMC held on to Karimpur with Bimalendu Sinha Roy defeating BJP’s Jay Prakash Majumdar by over 23,000 votes. TMC also won Kalianganj, where Tapan Deb Singha defeated BJP’s Kamal Chandra Sarkar by a slim margin of just over 2000 votes. Both constituencies are significant because of a large population of migrants and refugees.
However, the icing on the cake was wresting back control of Kharagpur Sadar from the clutches of the BJP, especially since it was the constituency of BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh. This was also perhaps one of BJPs most humiliating defeats this year. Bye elections were necessitated here are Ghosh became a Member of Parliament. But TMC’s Pradip Sarkar thrashed BJP’s Prem Chandra Jha with a winning margin of over 20,000 votes!
Maharashtra: Despite the aggressive campaigning, the Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a substantial decrease in their total vote share within the state, and did not win enough seats to prevent Devendra Phadnavis’s ego from getting bulldozed by the electorate’s mandate. In what was even more humiliating, despite overnight string-pulling and back-channel negotiations, BJP’s oldest ally and a party that shares the same ethno-religious ideology, the Shiv Sena, also left them high and dry when it allied with BJP’s arch nemesis the Congress and the craft Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to for the government.
And for those waiting for Uddhav Thackeray to pull a rabbit out of the hat, beware… the original Chanakya, Sharad Pawar, is always ten moves ahead when it comes to the political chessboard.
Jammu and Kashmir BDC polls: In the first major electoral activity after the abrogation of Article 370 that revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the elections results of the Block Development Council (BDC) dealt a body blow to the BJP. Independents swept the elections by winning a majority in 217 blocks out of the total 307 where polling was conducted. The state witnessed 98.3% polling where apart from the independents winning 217 blocks, BJP won 81.
The BJP had fielded 135 candidates in Jammu from which only 52 managed to win. In Kashmir, out of its 60 candidates only 18 managed to clinch a victory. Eight of these wins have come from the militant hotbed of south Kashmir’s Shopian district, where most of the candidates in the fray are Kashmiri Pandits living as migrants in Jammu.
Jharkhand: This was the most recent loss and solidified BJP’s reputation as a party in decline across the country. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha – Congress alliance routed the BJP in the state. What’s worse, it dethroned the sitting chief minister Raghubar Das in his own constituency. While some might blame it on the BJP’s general arrogance and over-dependence on the Modi factor, the dissatisfaction among tribal communities cannot be ignored. After all, the BJP’s proposed changes to Shanthal Parganas Tenancy Act and Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act threatened tribals’ right over land. There was also a brutal crackdown by the police under the BJP regime on two key protests in the state; those by para-teachers and anganwadi workers.
The party had already been summarily trounced in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2018. More importantly, these electoral body-blows came at a crucial political juncture when BJP is juggling with the Kashmir conundrum and burgeoning anti-CAA protests… the writing is on the wall. One just hopes the BJP isn’t too arrogant to read it.