New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be losing ground just a few months after its stupendous showing in the Lok Sabha elections as it suffered major setbacks in the Assembly bypolls in three states - Bihar, Karnataka and Punjab. The party could manage to hold on to its own only in the Madhya Pradesh bypolls. The BJP was decimated by the grand alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal United and the Congress in six seats out of 10 in Bihar.
Sources now say that the anti-BJP alliance in Bihar may be expanding. JDU leader Nitish Kumar, the architect of the mahagatbandhan (grand alliance), reportedly met Left Front leaders last week. The JDU has vowed to form a bigger alliance of non-NDA parties before the Bihar Assembly polls in 2015.
These bypolls were being touted by political pundits as the 'semi-final' before the full-fledged Bihar Assembly elections scheduled in the later half of 2015.
Ten assembly seats had gone to polls in the state after Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal United's Nitish Kumar stitched up an alliance to counter the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Six out of the 10 seats were won by the BJP in the 2010 Assembly elections. The bypolls to the 10 assembly constituencies - Hajipur, Chapra, Mohiuddinagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Rajnagar (SC), Jale, Mohania (SC), Narkatiaganj, Banka - on August 21 were necessitated after representatives to five of them got elected to the Lok Sabha, while the rest fell vacant due to resignations. The voters turnout was around 47 per cent during the bypoll.
Reacting soon after the counting of votes, both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar thanked the people for their victory while the BJP leaders in the state took responsibility for the dismal performance. "We are very satisfied with the results. There was huge excitement over the 10 assembly by elections in Bihar. People have reposed faith in us," Nitish said. "Voters have rectified their mistake, I thank them for their support," said Lalu Prasad.
BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Bihar bypolls results are not as we had expected it to be. As state leaders we take responsibility."
In Karnataka, the BJP faced a huge setback in the Bellary seat which was taken away by the Congress. The Congress won two out of the three seats in Karnataka that went to polls.
The Congress wrested the prestigious Bellary Rural seat from the BJP. The seat was earlier held by MP B Sriramulu. The Congress candidate NY Gopalakrishna won the seat by nearly 34,000 votes. The Congress also retained the Chikkodi-Sadalaga assembly seat. Ganesh Hukkeri, the Congress candidate and son of local MP Prakash Hukkeri won the seat comfortably.
In the prestigious Shikaripura assembly seat in Shimoga district, the BJP candidate BY Raghavendra, son of former Karnatak chief minister BS Yeddyurappe, won by a slender margin of just 4,000 votes.
The Congress was at par with the Shiromani Akali Dal in the Punjab where both the parties won one seat each. Congress leader Preneet Kaur won the Patiala seat while Akali Dal's Mohinder Singh Sidhu won the Talwandi Sabo seat.
It was only in Madhya Pradesh where the BJP managed to win two seats out of three while the Congress was leading in the third one.
In all, the NDA managed to grab 8 seats out of the total 18 that went to polls in four states while 10 seats were won by the Congress and the RJD-JDU-Congress alliance.