Rajasthan Assembly bypolls: Ruling Congress wins two seats, BJP one

Express News Service
JAIPUR: The ruling Congress won two seats, while the BJP got the third, in the bypolls for the Rajasthan Assembly. In the counting of votes for the three assembly seats on Sunday, the Congress secured comfortable wins in the Sahada and Sujangarh seats while the BJP retained its hold on the Rajasamand seat.

In the Sahada seat in Bhilwara district, Congress candidate Gayatri Trivedi defeated the BJP’s Ratanlal Jat by a thumping margin of 42,099 votes.

In contrast, in Rajasamand, the BJP’s Deepti Maheshwari emerged victorious against her Congress rival Tansukh Bohra by a narrow margin of 5165 votes.

However, in the Sujangarh seat in Churu district, the BJP suffered a major setback as its candidate finished a poor third. Congress candidate Manoj Meghwal led all through the counting process and defeated the RLP’s Sitaram Nayak by 43,642 votes.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to congratulate the Congress winners even before the election results were officially declared. “Heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Congress candidate Gayatri Devi from Sahada (Bhilwara) and Manoj Meghwal from Sujangarh (Churu). The Rajsamand by-election was also fought unitedly and the BJP’s victory margin here has been quite modest,” he tweeted in Hindi.

In addition, CM Gehlot also thanked the voters. “People of the region have given more strength to the Congress government and have paved a way for development. I thank the voters for their blessings and support to the Congress candidates. I also congratulate party workers and leaders,” Gehlot tweeted.

The BJP had turned these bypolls into a prestige battle by terming this to be a verdict on the Gehlot government’s performance. If the BJP had won two of the three seats, the leadership claims of state BJP Chief Satish Poonia would have been strengthened. But now as the party’s show has been rather ordinary, the camp led by former CM Vasundhara Raje (who stayed aloof from these bypolls) is likely to turn more aggressive. The rift in the state BJP could well intensify further.

Though the Congress too is plagued with infighting, the verdict is likely to strengthen the hands of CM Gehlot. But with the Sachin Pilot camp lobbying for cabinet expansion and political appointments, hectic political activity is likely even in Congress circles in the next few weeks.