SP wrests Ballia seat in bypolls

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Jan 2 | Updated: Jan 3 2008, 03:53am hrs
The new year brought cheer to non-Congress, non-BJP parties as they succeeded in winning one assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in bypolls on Wednesday.

The Samajwadi Party candidate and former prime minister Chandrashekhars son Neeraj emerged victorious in Ballia Lok Sabha constituency while JD(U)s Meena Singh won the Bikramganj Lok Sabha seat in Bihar. The ruling CPI(M), on the other hand, retained the Balagarh assembly seat in Hooghly district, taking advantage of the division in the opposition camp.

Cashing in on the sympathy of his father, who died last year, Neeraj won the Ballia seat by a margin of over 1,30,000 votes over his nearest rival BSPs Vinay Shankar Tewari. The results are a setback for the BSP given that chief minister Mayawati herself had campaigned for Tewari. The JD(U) got the Bikramganj seat after defeating nearest RJD rival Ashok Kumar Kushwaha by by 31,258 votes.

In West Bengal, CPI-M candidate Bhuban Pramanik trounced his nearest Trinamool Congress rival by a margin of 8,410 votes, though the Marxist partys margin of victory decreased by 10,000 votes. Unlike the 2006 assembly election when TC and BJP had contested in alliance, the two parties fielded separate nominees in the bypoll even as TC continued to be a partner of NDA.

An interesting feature was that Congress was relegated to the fourth position behind BJP which finished third.