The Bharatiya Janata Party won four of the seven assembly seats whose results were announced today. After a BJP-backed coup led by Eknath Shinde split Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray’s faction won its first election.
The BJP has won Gola Gokarnnath in Uttar Pradesh, Adampur in Haryana, Gopalganj in Bihar, and Dhamnagar in Odisha. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, led by Tejashwi Yadav, has won in Bihar’s Mokama district. K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtriya Samithi won in Munugode, while the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray won in Mumbai’s Andheri East.
Before byelections, the BJP held three of the seven seats, the Congress two, and the Shiv Sena and the RJD one each. Bihar has two seats, while UP, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Telangana each have one.
Neelam Devi, the wife of Anant Singh, who was disqualified after being convicted of illegally possessing firearms, won the RJD nomination in Bihar’s Mokama.
The BJP won a narrow victory in RJD president Lalu Prasad’s home district of Gopalganj. This was the first election since Nitish Kumar abandoned the BJP in order to resurrect the JDU’s alliance with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD.
In Haryana, former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal’s family seat Adampur decided that his grandson Bhavya Bishnoi, who switched from the Congress to the BJP, can carry on the 68-year legacy. Bhavya’s father, Kuldeep Bishnoi, who led the family into the BJP, resigned as Adampur MLA when he defected, prompting this byelection.
Today, Uddhav Thackeray’s faction won its first election. Rutuja Latke, the Shiv Sena’s (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) candidate, won the Mumbai by-election in Andheri (East) by a massive margin of over 66,000 votes.
In Telangana, the ruling TRS defeated the BJP by a margin of over 10,000 votes in Munugode. The Munugode bypoll was a prestige battle for KCR because a BJP victory would have signalled a crack in the TRS’ defensive line, through which the BJP would have entered and expanded its presence.
In Dhamnagar, Odisha, the BJP dethroned the ruling regional party BJD. The BJP had previously won the seat, but MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi’s death prompted this election. Suryabanshi Suraj, Sethi’s son, is still fighting.
The BJP retained the Gola Gokarannath seat in Uttar Pradesh, which had become vacant following the death of its MLA Arvind Giri on September 6. The BSP and Congress stayed away, resulting in a direct fight between Arvind Giri’s son Aman Giri (BJP) and former MLA Vinay Tiwari of the Samajwadi Party.
None of these competitions are likely to change the equation for current state governments. However, with regional parties attempting to form a united front for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which are only a year and a half away, these could serve as either booster shots or perception busters for some parties.