After Karnataka, all eyes are now on the May 28 bypolls in four Lok Sabha constituencies — Kairana (Uttar Pradesh) Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya (Maharashtra) and the lone Nagaland seat.
The BJP, which has lost six Lok Sabha constituencies since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, is down by another two following resignations of BS Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu—its two newly elected members to the Karnataka Assembly who resigned soon after results were declared on May 15.
Though as per the Lok Sabha records on date, “Bellary MP Sriramalu” and “Shimoga MP Yeddyurappa” continue to be a member and add to the BJP’s strength in the House “274”.
Numbers apart, the outcome of the by-elections is important from the view of testing the BJP’s popularity vis-a-vis the anti-BJP groupings hoping to come together for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Also, the BJP’s track record of retaining its seats is not good. Since 2014, it has since lost six constituencies — Ajmer and Alwar (Rajasthan), Gorakhpur and Phulpur(UP), Gurdaspur (Punjab) and Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh).
In 2014, three of these four seats were won by the BJP and the Nagaland seat by alliance partner in the Northeast—People’s Democratic Alliance.
Bypolls to these seats were necessitated following death of Kairana and Palghar MPs and resignation by its Bhandara-Gondiya MP. In Nagaland sitting MP Neiphiu Rio became the state CM with the party’s support.
Kairana, which follows embarrassing defeats suffered by the BJP on seats held by CM Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Mauraya, is being watched closely.
Even though the BJP will still continue to be in majority in the House with allies, a defeat in Kairana will be the boost regional parties are looking for in the state with as many as 80 Lok Sabha constituencies.
As in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, Kairana has again united the regional parties to take on the BJP candidate—Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh.
Her main rival is Tabassum Hasan from the Ajit Singh-led RLD and backed by the Samajwadi Party. In those terms Maharashtra seats are “relatively easier” for the BJP.
So far as Nagaland is concerned, it will be a “cakewalk”, claim leaders.