The Congress today retained both the assembly seats in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh while it lost to the BJD the lone constituency in Odisha where bypolls were held this month.Brajendra Singh Yadav of the Congress defeated his BJP rival Baisahab Yadav by a margin of 2,124 votes to win the Mungaoli seat while in Kolaras, Congress candidate Mahendra Singh Yadav prevailed over Devendra Jain of the BJP by 8,083 votes. Brajendra Yadav got 70,808 votes while Baisahab Yadav bagged 68,684, a poll official said. In Kolaras, Mahendra Yadav polled 82,515 votes and Jain 74,432 ballots, the official said.The by-elections of February 24 were necessitated by the deaths of sitting Congress MLAs.In Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal wrested the Bijepur assembly seat from the Congress with its candidate Rita Sahu defeating her nearest rival, Ashok Panigrahi of the BJP, by 41,933 votes.The Election Commission said Sahu polled 1,02,871 votes against the 60,938 secured by Panigrahi. Pranaya Sahu of the Congress, which had held the seat three terms in a row, came third with 10,274 votes and lost his deposit. The by-election was held following the death of three-time Congress MLA Subal Sahu in August last year. The BJD fielded his widow as its candidate, while Panigrahi left the BJD and contested from the BJP. Also readMadhya Pradesh bypolls 2018: Clean sweep by Congress, wins both Mungaoli and Kolaras Odisha CM says win significant:With the party candidate losing his deposit, Odisha Congress chief Prasad Harichandan stepped down from his post soon after the results were declared, owning moral responsibility for the dismal show.Also readBijepur bypoll Results 2018: BJD’s massive win will have impact on future elections, says Naveen Patnaik”He (Harichandan) has sent his resignation letter to the Congress president today,” All India Congress Committe General Secretary and Odisha in-charge B K Hariprasad told PTI over phone.Asked whether the resignation has been accepted, Hariprasad said, “No decision has so far been taken on his resignation. The Congress president will decide what to do.” The BJP had polled 30,001 votes from Bijepur in the 2014 Assembly elections.While the BJD’s vote share jumped to 56.78 per cent from 31.88 per cent in 2014 Assembly elections, votes polled by the BJP also increased to 33.53 per cent from 18.11 per cent.Votes polled by the Congress nosedived to a meagre 5.65 per cent from 32.15 per cent in 2014.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the Bijepur by-poll result would have an impact on future elections in Odisha.”Such an enormous victory with a margin of more than 40,000 votes will have an impact on future elections,” he told reporters while thanking the people of Bijepur for the overwhelming support to the BJD.”I would like to express my deep gratitude to the people of Bijepur Assembly constituency for having showered their blessings on the BJD,” Patnaik said.Asked about pre-poll violence in Bijepur, he said, “People will not stand for violence in a democracy.” Odisha’s people were peace loving and has rejected the politics of hatred and violence, Patnaik tweeted.Following her win, Rita Sahu said, “I will work for the all-round development of the people in our area and strive hard to fulfil my husband’s dream.” Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan congratulated Sahu for the victory and claimed that the bypoll result has left the Congress irrelevant in Odisha’s political turf.Asserting that the BJP was unable to properly present before the people the “inefficiency and misrule” of the BJD, Pradhan claimed the bypoll result amply demonstrated that there existed a tactical understanding between the BJD and the Congress.About the poor show of the Congress candidate in Bijepur, B K Hariprasad said, “We could not match the money and muscle power of both the BJD and the BJP.” Scindia elated with victory: Elated over the victory, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia — in whose Lok Sabha constituency, Guna, both these seats fell — tweeted, “I thank people from the bottom of my heart. Congratulations to all on this victory. I will be with you and stand true to your faith in me, forever (sic).” “It was a victory of people’s faith over the money power,” he tweeted further.Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh said the outcome showed that this was the last year of the BJP’s rule in the state.”The BJP has failed to win two bye-elections, but is claiming that it will win over 200 seats in the year-end Assembly polls. The BJP had pressed the entire cabinet into the campaign and misused power. The results show that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has lost the people’s faith,” he said, attributing the victory to Scindia’s hard work.State BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan pointed out that the victory margin of the Congress candidates had reduced.”These were Congress seats, but the BJP’s vote share has increased. In Mungaoli, the margin of victory for the Congress has been reduced to about 2,000 votes. In both the seats, the BJP’s vote share has increased. The BJP is going to form the government for the fourth successive time (in the state) by winning the next Assembly election,” he said.
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