The Congress on Saturday suffered a setback in the Lok Sabha by-elections, when it lost the Tehri seat in Uttarakhand and barely managed to scrape through in Jangipur in West Bengal, which was held by Pranab Mukherjee, by a narrow margin.
In the prestigious Tehri seat vacated by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, his son and Congress candidate Saket Bahuguna lost to Bharatiya Janata Party's Mala Raj Laxmi Shah, the daughter-in-law of erstwhile Tehri royal family scion Manvendra Shah, who had represented the seat for a record eight times.
Shah won by a margin of 22,431 votes over her nearest rival Bahuguna in a field of 14 candidates. Shah polled 2,45,292 votes against Bahuguna's 2,22,861 votes.
But in the other seat, Congress managed to save its face, largely helped by the absence of Trinamool Congress, which decided not to contest the polls despite the recent split between the two parties.
Its candidate Abjijit Mukherjee, son of President Pranab Mukherjee, won the Jangipur by-election by a narrow margin of 2,536 votes, defeating his nearest Communist Party of India - Marxist rival Muzaffar Hussain.
Abhijit polled 3,32,919 votes, while the CPI-M candidate bagged 3,30,383 votes.
The senior Mukherjee had won the seat in 2009 by a huge margin of over 1.28
With today's results, the strength of Congress comes down to 206 in a House of 545 while that of the BJP goes up to 115.
In Tehri, BJP had banked on the traditional clout of the Tehri royals for its victory and had raised the twin issues of corruption and price rise to woo voters, while Congress had sought a mandate by promising to bring big time investment to Tehri, as the party was in power both in the state and at the Centre.
The BJP has snatched the seat from the Congress, which fell vacant after Vijay Bahuguna resigned from it, following his win from Sitarganj assembly constituency after he became chief minister, capping a bitter internal party struggle.
In Jangipur, BJP candidate Sudhangshu Biswas, who came third, polled 85,867 votes. Two independent candidates Raisuddin and Tahedul Islam polled 41,620 and 24,691 votes respectively.
The by-election was held on October 10 as the seat had fallen vacant after Pranab Mukherjee was elevated to the highest office of the country.