Indian by-elections: ruling parties retain with Modi relieved, Mamata  rejoicing  

Indian by-elections: ruling parties retain with Modi relieved, Mamata  rejoicing  

SAM Report,
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With uproar running high over wiping out of 86 percent Indian money, parliamentary and assembly by-election results are out for several important states. Ruling party candidates of those states won these elections. Prime Minister Modi and Mamata Banerjee are claiming the results as people’s trust in their governments.
By-elections to four parliamentary seats and ten assembly seats in six states were held this time. The states are Assam, Arunachal, West Bengal, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and one union territory, Puducherry. Although the respective ruling parties of the states won the polls the primary concern is the margin of victory.

BJP won in Assam, Arunachal and Madhya Pradesh where they previously had a landslide win, but this time the margin reduced quite a bit. On the other hand, ruling party of West Bengal Trinamool Congress (TC) retained seats in Lok Sabha and assembly, this time on a larger margin. The ruling party of Tripura, CIPM managed to snatch assembly seats from congress. Jayalalithaa’s party AIDM won in all seats of Tamilnadu.

Even though BJP retained all their seats in Lok Sabha and state assembly the winning margin for the Lok Sabha seat was down from nearly 2.5 lakh to 60,000 despite a 5 percent increase in voter turnout. In Assam, which is also governed by the BJP, the party retained the parliament seat vacated by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and gained an assembly seat.

In Arunachal Pradesh, Desingu Pul, the wife of the former chief minister and Congress leader Kalikho Pul, who committed suicide in August, won his assembly seat as a BJP candidate. The BJP has been backing her since Chief Minister Pema Khandu broke away from the Congress.

In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has retained two Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seat,  with a huge majority. In some seats, the difference was so high that other candidates had to forfeit their collateral.  Chief Minister Mamata said this win is a revolt against demonetisation.

In Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK retained all three seats. Jayalalithaa is not worrying about the people’s support for her government as the winning margin was huge in this election. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy of the Congress has won the Nellithope Assembly seat. Narayanasamy is a Lok Sabha lawmaker and needed to become a member of the state assembly within six months of being sworn in as Chief Minister in May. So, this was a crucial win for him.

Tripura’s ruling CPM has won both assembly seats for which by-elections were held, retaining one and snatching the other from the Congress, which fared very poorly in both.

In India, the ruling party usually does well in mid-term elections and this time was not an exception. However, the BJP lost their popularity because of the note demonetisation issue which is evident by the margin of results in the various states. The huge support for Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has risen even further. Mamata and Kejriwal are playing a leading role in the movement against Modi government on the currency issue.

After Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supported Modi on this issue, Mamata is gaining little more compassion in finding an alternative option.

Modi was relieved a bit with this by-election result in the light of the ongoing demonetisation controversy. He tweeted “I thank people for the continued faith in BJP & in the BJP’s unwavering focus on development and good governance.”

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