The BJP, which had won an absolute majority on its own in the 2014 General Elections with 282 seats, has lost nine seats in by-elections held so far in the last four years and after two losses and one win on Thursday, its tally stood at 273, just above the half-way mark.
The BJP on Thursday lost the crucial Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll in Uttar Pradesh and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra. It retained the Palghar parliamentary seat while its ally Nagaland Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) won the Nagaland seat.
The BJP had earlier this year lost bypolls to the prestigious Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh and Ajmer and Alwar in Rajasthan.
In the by-elections since Narendra Modi stormed to power, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost to Congress in four seats, to the Samajwadi Party in two seats, and to the Nationalist Congress Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in one seat each.
The RLD has opened its account in Lok Sabha with its opposition-supported candidate Tabassum Hasan trouncing BJP’s Mriganka Singh in Kairana, where the bypoll was necessitated by death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh.
The BJP retained the Palghar Lok Sabha seat where its candidate Rajendra Gavit defeated Shriniwas Vanga of the Shiv Sena. Vanga is son of sitting MP Chintaman Vanga, whose death in January had necessitated the bypoll.
The bypoll to Nagaland’s sole parliamentary seat was necessitated due to sitting member Neiphiu Rio becoming the Chief Minister of the state.
The strength of Nationalist Congress Party, which won Bhandara-Gondiya seat, has now gone up to seven in the Lok Sabha. The bypoll on the seat was necessitated by the resignation of sitting BJP member Nana Patole who subsequently joined the Congress.
The first by-poll shock for BJP came in from Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam constituency in November 2015.
The BJP had won 27 of the 29 seats in the state in 2014. The bypoll, necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MP Dileep Singh Bhuria, saw Congress’s Kantilal Bhuria won the seat against Dileep Singh Bhuria’s daughter Nirmala.
Another setback for the BJP came from Punjab’s Gurdaspur in 2017 where the bypoll, necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MP and actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna, was won by Congress’s Sunil Singh Jakhar, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar. He defeated BJP’s Swaran Solaria in the constituency by over 1.9 lakh votes.
The Congress, which had lost in all the 25 seats in Rajasthan in 2014 polls, managed to make a comeback in the state early this year as it won the Lok Sabha by-polls in Alwar and Ajmer. The by-elections were necessitated by the death of BJP MPs Sanwarlal Jat (Ajmer) and Mahant Chand Nath Yogi (Alwar).
In the byelections to Uttar Pradesh’s Phulpur and Gorakhpur, the Samajwadi Party (SP) niminees defeated the BJP candidates by handsome margins. The polls were necessitated by the resignation of Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath and Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya after they became the state’s Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively.
The BJP also lost in the by-election to Bihar’s Araria Lok Sabha seat to the RJD. The bypoll was necessitated after the death of RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin last year. In Araria, there was a direct contest between Taslimuddin’s son Sarfraz Alam and BJP’s Pradip Singh.
The BJP however won parliamentary bypolls in Assam, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
In Assam’s Lakhimpur, a poll was necessitated as sitting MP Sarbananda Sonowal took over as the Chief Minister after the party’s win. The party retained the seat in the by-poll.
The BJP also won in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol. The election was necessitated as veteran party leader Dalpat Singh Paraste passed away. The by-poll was held just days after demonetisation, when the country was in turmoil, seeking to adjust to the lack of cash in the system.
The BJP also won Vadodara, which has been its traditional stronghold seat. As Prime Minster Narendra Modi retained his Varanasi seat and resigned from Vadodara, BJP won the seat again easily.
BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde died in a road accident in June 2014 which led to the by-poll in Maharashtra’s Beed. His daughter Pritam Munde easily retained the seat for the BJP.
When BJP won an absolute majority in the Lok Sahbha in 2014, it was the first party to do so in nearly 30 years.