The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday retained Garoth assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district albeit with a reduced margin than in the 2013 assembly polls. The Congress, however, termed the BJP's win with a lower margin than earlier as a "moral defeat" for the ruling party.
The by-election at the seat was necessitated due to the death of BJP MLA Rajesh Yadav following illness.
BJP candidate Chander Singh Sisodia won the by-poll by defeating Congress' Subhash Kumar Sojatia with a margin of 12,945 votes, an election officer said. Sisodia got 81,449 votes while Sojatia bagged 68,504 votes, he said.
The BJP had won the seat in the 2013 assembly polls with a margin of 25,755 votes.
A total of 1,55,934 voters exercised their franchise in the bypoll, with 1,924 voting in favour of NOTA (none of the above). In 2013, 1,63,892 votes were polled at the seat.
Eight candidates were in fray for the by-poll, but the main contest was between BJP's Sisodia and Congress nominee Sojatia.
State Congress unit's chief spokesperson K K Mishra termed the BJP's victory with a reduced margin in the by-poll as the ruling party's "moral defeat”.
Alleging that the BJP won the by-poll by misusing official machinery in a big way, he said that it is not the victory of the BJP, but of its "dishonesty." However, Madhya Pradesh's BJP unit spokesman Vishwas Sarang said it was a victory of the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
People have again expressed their faith in their governance, Sarang said, adding that the victory margin was "comfortable". State BJP's media in-charge Dr Hitesh Vajpayee also described the party's success in Garoth as the victory of Chouhan and his government and the party's policies.
Win for CPI-M in Tipura
The ruling CPI-M won both the Pratapgarh (SC) and Surma (SC) assembly seats by a huge margin in Tripura where by-elections were held as the BJP made inroads into the left bastion dislodging Congress from the second position.
In the by-election results announced during the day, CPI-M candidate in the Pratapgarh constituency, Ramu Das defeated his nearest BJP candidate, Mousami Das by a margin of 17,326 votes.
The BJP contestant got 10,229 votes this time while Congress candidate Ranjit Kumar Das secured only 5,187 votes relegated to the third position.
In Surma constituency by-poll, the CPI-M candidate Anjan Das defeated his nearest rival of the BJP, Asish Das by a margin of 15,309 votes.
In Surma, Congress candidate Nagendra Biswas secured only 2,528 votes, which is only 7.41 per cent of the total vote and his deposit was forfeited.
The BJP candidate Asish Das secured 7,966 votes -- or 23.36 per cent of the total votes polled -- in Surma. In the 2013 Pratapgarh assembly polls, CPI-M candidate Anil Sarkar had won the elections by defeating nearest Congress rival, Ranjit Kumar Das by a margin of 2,132 votes.
Interestingly, the BJP did not contest the Pratapgraph assembly elections due to organisational weakness in 2013.
Congress wins Meghalaya by-poll
The ruling Congress on Tuesday won the Chokpot assembly by-poll in Meghalaya by a margin of 2,550 votes with its candidate Blubell R Sangma defeating her nearest rival Philipole Marak of National People's Party.
While Blubell R Sangma secured 8,042 votes, Philipole Marak secured 5,492 votes, state election office said.
The other candidates, Kalpana D Sangma from Garo National Council and Thinkerwin R Marak (Independent) secured 5,009 and 1,189 votes respectively.
The Chokpot assembly constituency fell vacant following the death of Garo National Council legislator Clifford R Marak.
While Clifford R Marak's wife Kalpana Sangma contested on the GNC ticket, the Congress winner is the wife of former legislator Mason S Sangma.
Altogether, 83.11 per cent voters had exercised their franchise for this by-poll on Saturday.
In the 2013 assembly polls to Surma constituency, Sudhir Das of the CPI-M had secured 18,648 votes and won the election by a margin of only 1,862 votes by defeating his Congress rival Sukharanjan Das who had secured 16,786 votes.
BJP President Sudhindra Dasgupta said, "We knew that we would not be able to win the by-elections this time, but expected more votes and better results. But we are sure that we would win in the next assembly elections to be held in 2018 and capture power to give better governance."
While the Pratapgarh seat fell vacant due to the death of CPI-M veteran and former minister Anil Sarkar, by-poll was necessitated in Surma following the death of sitting Marxist MLA Sudhir Das.
Sarkar won from his constituency for eight times at a stretch since 1978 and Das won the Surma seat on five consecutive occasions since 1993.
An estimated 50,018 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fortune of five candidates in the Pratapgarh constituency of West Tripura district, while 42,052 electors resolved the fate of four aspirants in Surma constituency in Dhalai district. A CPI-M leader, not wishing to be named said that it (the result trend) was a matter of concern for the party.