In a spectacular showing, the Congress on Thursday stole the show in Rajasthan by wresting the Mandalgarh Assembly as well as the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats from the ruling BJP by huge margins, triggering wild celebrations.
Congress activists burst firecrackers and danced to drum beats outside the party office here as Vivek Dhakar trounced Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Shakti Singh Hada by 12,976 votes in Mandalgarh. The stunned BJP came in for severe drubbing in Rajasthan where it is eyeing a second straight term
1. Who defeated who in Rajasthan bypoll
Karan Singh Yadav in Alwar defeated Jaswant Singh Yadav of the BJP by a whopping 196,496 votes while Raghu Sharma in Ajmer worsted the BJP's Ramswaroop Lamba by 84,414 votes. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress did not win a single seat in Rajasthan. Raghu Sharma secured 611,514 votes against the 527,100 of Lamba. Karan Singh Yadav notched 642,416 votes against 445,920 secured by the BJP's Jaswant Singh. Dhakar got 70,146 votes while Hada secured 57,170 in the by-election held on January 29, Election Commission officials said.
2. Why were Rajasthan by-polls held?
The election in Mandalgarh followed the death of BJP MLA Kirti Kumari due to swine flu in August last year. The elections to the Lok Sabha constituencies were necessitated by the deaths of Sanwarlal Jat (Ajmer) and Mahant Chand Nath Yogi (Alwar).
3. Number of candidates in Rajasthan by-polls
A total of 42 candidates were in the fray in the three seats, all of which were held by the BJP. There were 23 contestants in Ajmer and 11 in Alwar.
4. Raje must resign, says Sachin Pilot
With Assembly elections scheduled later this year in Rajasthan, Congress leaders insisted that the verdict was a rejection of the BJP.
"It is a victory for people, party workers and all leaders," Pilot told the media.
"Young people in this country have realized that the politics of polarization doesn't work," he said. "The high-handedness and arrogance (of the BJP) has been rejected while people have put their trust in Congress president Rahul Gandhi."
A huge victory for the people of Rajasthan. Hat's off to the hard work put in by all congress workers, leaders, volunteers & well wishers. This is the start of the end of BJP in the state. #खम्माघणीCongress— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) February 1, 2018
5. Rajasthan by-poll result a precursor to 2019 General elections
He took a dig at the BJP government in the state, saying apart from changing the names of Congress-era schemes, the Chief Minister had done nothing concrete for the people in the past four years she has ruled the country's largest state.
"Unemployment is hurting the youth. Today's trends can be seen as precursor to not just state Assembly polls later this year but also to the next Lok Sabha polls," Gehlot said.
And here is the ultimate shocker calculation: There are trends from 17 Assembly segments available today from #Rajasthan. If these trends are applied on full Vidhan Sabha of 200 seats; then we are staring at massive Congress sweep.— Yashwant Deshmukh (@YRDeshmukh) February 1, 2018
Congress: 140 seats (+119)
BJP: 53 seats (-109) pic.twitter.com/gAJk8zlFXE
6. BJP concedes defeat
The BJP conceded defeat. As the election results became known, the BJP office wore a deserted look.
Speaking to the media, Rajasthan BJP chief Ashok Parnami told reporters: "We respect the people's mandate and we will analyse the reasons for our defeat. I am taking responsibility for the defeat.
7. Karni Sena blames 'Padmaavat' for BJP's defeat
Rajput Karni Sena Chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi on Thursday claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had lost in all three bypolls seats in Rajasthan as it had not banned Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat' in the state.
Kalvi, who protested the release of controversial movie 'Padmaavat' said, "For the first time ever in Rajasthan bypolls candidates from ruling party did not win. Padmaavat was not banned so it took the shape of outrage which was evident on 29th January and its result came today. I would suggest Prime Minister to ban it, it is the only solution."
8. People of Rajasthan have rejected BJP: Rahul Gandhi
In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi congratulated the party workers in Rajasthan.
"Well done Rajasthan Congress! Proud of each and every one of you. This is a rejection of the BJP by the people of Rajasthan," Gandhi said.
Well done Rajasthan Congress! Proud of each and every one of you. This is a rejection of the BJP by the people of Rajasthan.#RajasthanByPolls— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) February 1, 2018
8. TMC sweeps West Bengal bypolls
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress quelled the BJP challenge in West Bengal with ease as its candidates won the Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Assembly seats, trouncing their nearest saffron party rivals.
9. Vasundhara Raje sportingly accepts defeat
Congratulating the Congress Party for winning the Mandalgarh Assembly seat, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje on Thursday vowed to continue working for the welfare of the people.
Raje however, took responsibility for Bharatiya Janata Party's defeat in the bypolls and said that she accepted the verdict of the people.
We have worked tirelessly over the years, with the people of #Rajasthan as our centre of attention and shall work harder, with renewed fervour and dedication, taking our beautiful State to new heights. #JaiJaiRajasthan pic.twitter.com/ZcPGzNmymS— Vasundhara Raje (@VasundharaBJP) February 1, 2018
10. Meanwhile, Jaitley presented the 'election Budget'
In a bid to woo farmers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised MSP for farmers. However, the government failed to deliver anything impressive for the middle class.
The opposition reacted sharply to the government's proposed budget with Congress leader P. Chidambaram saying Jaitley had failed the fiscal consolidation test that will have "serious consequences" on the economic growth rate.