With the BJP and regional parties winning byelections to seven assembly seats in six states, all parties drew positives from their performances as they prepare for the 2024 general elections. However, many interesting political conversations were reignited with the vote breakdowns of the votes.
One of them was whether the AIMIM, led by Asaduddin Owaisi and Mayawati’s BSP, ‘helped’ the BJP reach victory against RJD in one of the Bihar seats up for grabs - Gopalganj. Spotlight was also on the NOTA option attaining the second-preferred voteshare against Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena candidate Rutuja Latke.
News18 explains some of these poll takes and what they mean:
AIMIM’s ‘BJP’s B-team?’
The BJP’s Kusum Devi won the Gopalganj by-election by a narrow margin of 1,794 votes over the RJD’s Mohan Prasad Gupta, political grapevine was abuzz with that that Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, which fielded Abdul Salam, played a critical role in shaping the BJP’s victory.
#गोपालगंज में @aimim_national @aimim_bihar के तमाम वोटरों को हमारा शुक्रिया। विरोधी दल अपनी नाकामी का इल्ज़ाम हम पर ज़रूर लगा सकते हैं, क्यूँकि लालू जी के साले साहब पर सवाल उठाना शायद “अमर्यादित” होगा। https://t.co/mEBUsTaxWf— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) November 6, 2022
According to the Election Commission, AIMIM candidate Abdul Salam received 12,214 votes, nearly seven times the margin of victory of the BJP candidate, Kusum Devi. Devi received 70,053 votes (41.6%), while Mohan Prasad Gupta received 68,259 votes (40.53%). Reports said that if EC data is taken at hand, the BJP would not have won the Gopalganj seat if Owaisi had not run.
A report by India Today also analysed how RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav played a role in undermining the RJD’s chances. Indira Yadav, Sadhu Yadav’s wife, ran for Gopalganj on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket and received 8,854 (5.26%) votes, nearly five times Kusum Devi’s winning margin. According to the Election Commission’s data, the AIMIM and BSP candidates together significantly reduced the RJD’s votes in the election, allowing the BJP to win.
NOTA Steals the Show in Mumbai
Rutuja Latke, the candidate of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, won a resounding majority of votes to emerge victorious in the Andheri (East) bypoll, the results of which were declared on Sunday. There was a surprise in store, however, hinting that an unofficial “NOTA campaign" against late MLA Ramesh Latke’s wife may have worked, at least in part. With over 12,000 votes, the ‘none of the above’ option, or NOTA, came in second.
(NOTA, or “None of the Above," is a voting option that allows the voter to officially register a vote of rejection for all candidates running. If a voter presses NOTA, it means that he or she has decided not to vote for any of the parties.)
An unofficial "NOTA campaign" against Rutuja Latke's wife might have worked as the 'none of the above' option came in second with over 12,000 votes https://t.co/EVLSvUcDDT— News18.com (@news18dotcom) November 6, 2022
According to an election official, while Rutuja won the byelection with 66,000 votes, NOTA received 12,806 votes. The bypoll, which was required after Ramesh Latke’s death, received 86,570 votes.
Meanwhile, the Thackeray Sena had claimed a few days before the November 3 bypoll that voters were “paid" to vote for the NOTA option in the Andheri bypoll. Following this, a senior poll official declared that it was “illegal" for any party or candidate to run such a “NOTA campaign," especially since campaigning had ended.
Anil Parab, a Thackeray faction leader, claimed that some of Rutuja’s opponents were urging voters to vote NOTA. The allegations were made by the party on November 1, the last day of campaigning. READ MORE
Congress Loss in Munugode Even as Bharat Jodo Yatra on T’gana Leg
The Congress lost the Munugode bypoll in the most humiliating way possible, as did TPCC president A Revanth Reddy’s leadership. It was a humiliating defeat for the party, given that the Congress had won six of the previous Assembly elections in the constituency, five of which were won by current candidate Palvai Sravanthi’s father, Palvai Govardhan Reddy, a report by Telangana Today said.
The Hindu reported that while the Congress was never expected to win the seat, given the large-scale defection of its local leadership to BJP, including Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, it was expected to make an impression on the result landscape.
However, Palvai Sravanthi, the Congress candidate, did not even receive the votes she received as an independent candidate in 2014 against TRS candidate Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy. As part of the alliance, the Communist Party of India (CPI) was given the seat in 2014. The disappointing result came as Rahul Gandhi’s padayatra passes through Telangana, ‘an embarrassment to the party’, even though it never expected to compete in the political circumstances created by the Munugode bypoll, the report stated.
Read all the Latest Explainers here