What do the Bypoll Results Say? Here are Five Key Emerging Trends

In what was a good day at the office for the BJP, the party on Thursday won five out of 10 assembly by-elections across eight states, including Delhi, with the Congress getting solace from Karnataka, where it retained two seats, and held on to another in Madhya Pradesh.

The Trinamool Congress won in West Bengal, and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) emerged victorious in Jharkhand.

For the BJP, the result are important because it sees them snatching two important seats – Rajouri Garden in Delhi and Dholpur in Rajasthan – from their opponents.

Signalling the importance of the victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Here are the five key takeaways from the bypolls.

Public Relying on the Two Major Parties

The biggest trend observed from the bypolls is that the elections across the country are becoming a two-party affair. The BJP and the Congress have seen an increase in terms of vote share in the bypolls.

In the bypolls in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, almost 95% of the votes were shared by the BJP and the Congress, while the figure remained close to 85% for the other states as well.

BJP Struggles When Faced with a United Opposition

Another important takeaway observed from the bypolls across the country is that BJP struggles when faced with a united opposition.

In Jharkhand’s Littipada, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chose to not put up any candidates of their own, and instead, supported the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JKM) which eventually translated into a loss for the BJP.

Similar trend was witnessed in Karnataka, where the Janata Dal (Secular) did not field a candidate, helping the Congress secure a win over the BJP.

Aam Aadmi Party Staring at Irrelevance?

Ahead of the MCD elections in Delhi on 23 April, the results of the bypolls have proved to be a shock for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi – where it won 67 out of 70 assembly seats in the 2015 elections – suffered a humiliating defeat in the Rajouri Garden assembly constituency, and figured at a distant third after the BJP and the Congress in the bypolls.

AAP which had secured 46.55% vote share in the previous Assembly elections, was only able to win a meagre 13.12% of the votes in the bypolls.

Explaining the performance, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the voters were angry over Jarnail Singh's Punjab switchover, which led to the party's poor show. "We tried to make them understand, but it seems they are still angry with the AAP."

Major Gains for BJP in West Bengal and Karnataka

In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress triumphed in the Kanthi Dakshin assembly constituency, saying it was a reaffirmation of the people's faith in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's developmental agenda. Chandrima Bhattacharya defeated Sourindra Mohan Jana of the BJP by a margin of 42,526 votes.

The BJP, however, said it was "happy" with the outcome, reflecting it was growing in popularity in the state.

In terms of vote share the BJP emerged as the real victor from West Bengal too. The BJP managed to win 31% of the vote share in Kanthi Dakshin – an impressive rise from it securing 8.76% votes in the 2016 assembly elections on the same seat.

It can be argued that the BJP has emerged as a viable alternative to the left parties. 

Backing the trend, the BJP in Karanataka secured 41% of the votes in the Nanjangud, while also securing 45% of the votes in the Gundlupet seat.

Congress Holds its Ground in Karnataka

Winning two crucial seats in the bypolls in the state will give hope to the Congress party ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections in Karnataka. The party emerged victorious, finishing with an impressive vote share on both the seats in Karnataka.

Find these infographics below that explain the bypoll results. The data has been sourced from the Election Commission’s website.