Chennai: There was much for the BJP to cheer: In UP, it has retained the Sikandra Assembly seat in a by-poll; and that too in Kanpur Dehat district, which gained notoriety after the 1981 Behmai massacre of 21 upper caste Rajputs allegedly by a gang led by bandit Phoolan Devi. In Arunachal Pradesh, where the BJP is in power, the party wrested the Pakke-Kessang and Likabali Assembly seats from the Congress.
But there is one record the BJP will not be proud of: In R K Nagar, Jayalalithaa’s constituency, NOTA got more votes than the saffron candidate did. This was all the more surprising since the nation has got so accustomed to see the BJP winning. MP Subramian Swamy immediately tweeted that the BJP, “a national ruling party,” was performing poorly, having got a quarter of NOTA votes. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed BJP victories in UP and Arunachal Pradesh and said his party is committed to serving the villages. He also expressed happiness over the party’s improved vote percentage in the West Bengal by-election, where the TMC unseated the Congress. After winning the three by-elections, BJP chief Amit Shah took on the Congress party, saying he was hoping the latter wouldn’t claim a “moral victory” today too.