Kamal Nath defeated in Chhindwara
The Bharatiya Janata Party has won
an impressive victory in the Chhindwara Lok Sabha by-election.
Its candidate, former Madhya Pradesh chief
minister Sunderlal Patwa, defeated former Union minister
Kamal Nath (Congress) by 37,680 votes.
The by-election was caused by the resignation of the Congress MP Alka Nath,
who contested the May general election in lieu of her husband. The Congress leadership did not
give Kamal Nath a ticket because he was chargesheeted in the hawala case.
Kamal Nath has represented this constituency since 1980. His
defeat must be particularly sweet for the BJP since Chief Minister Digvijay Singh pulled out
all stops to ensure his associate's victory.
However, a large section of the local Congress party opposed
Kamal Nath's candidature since they viewed him as an outsider in the predominantly tribal
The Congress also suffered humiliating defeats in the parliamentary by-elections from
Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh), Nagaur (Rajasthan) and Ropar (Punjab).
Bharatiya Kisan Kamgar Party leader Ajit Singh --who resigned the
Baghpat seat after he
deserted the Congress to float his own party with the help of farmers
leader Mahinder Singh Tikait -- trounced his Congress rival
Mukhia Gujjar by 231,440 votes. Baghpat has long been a jat bastion
and returned Ajit Singh's father, Charan Singh, to the Lok Sabha for many years.
Interestingly, in the May election, Ajit
Singh was the Congress candidate while Gujjar was the Samajwadi Party
Bhanu Prakash Mirdha, the BJP candidate and son of former
Congress leader Nathu Ram Mirdha, defeated his
Congress rival, former Union minister Ram Niwas Mirdha by 1,131
votes in Nagaur. The seat fell vacant following Nathu Ram Mirdha's death in May.
Former home minister Buta Singh lost the Lok Sabha by-election
in Ropar, to an Akali Dal candidate.
The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu retained
the Pudukottai assembly seat when its candidate Mariayya defeated
his AIADMK rival S Chelladurai by a margin of 12,024 votes.
In the by-election to 14 assembly seats, the BJP and its ally,
the Shiv Sena won five, the Congress three, the Samajwadi Party two,
the Bahujan Samaj Party and DMK one each and
The BJP won the Sarkhej (Gujarat), Phulera (Rajasthan), Debai
and Shikarpur (Uttar Pradesh) constituencies. The Sena retained
the Niphad seat in Maharashtra.
The Congress was victorious in Ramanagaram (Karnataka),
Depalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Kamakhyanagar (Orissa).
Samajwadi Party candidates were elected from
Sahaswan and Maniram constituencies in UP. The BSP
won the Bilsi seat in UP. The Mahendraganj seat in Mehgalaya was won
by an Independent and a Janata Dal rebel
wrested the Chinaikanahalli assembly constituency in Karnataka.
The loss in Ramanagaram is a humiliating defeat for Prime Minister H D Deve
Gowda whose resignation from the state assembly brought about the by-election.
Despite fielding the foremost Vokkaliga Kannada film star Amberish in the predominantly
Vokkaliga constituency and pulling out all stops to ensure his
victory, the Janata Dal could not prevent a Congress win by 9,612 votes.
The party, which rules Karnataka, also suffered a jolt when a party
rebel emerged victorious in Chikkanayakanahalli.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee
president Dharam Singh described the party's victory in Ramanagaram
as a referendum against the Dal administration in the