Lucknow : Will the face and performance of Akhilesh Yadav ensure the victory of Samajwadi Party in the forthcoming Assembly election? In the wake of the three by-election results announced on Tuesday, the question is nagging the top leadership of SP.

The results from the 3 by-elections — polling for which was held on February 13 — gave just one victory to SP while one seat each went to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. Interestingly, all the three seats were held by the SP in 2012, and the by-elections were necessitated by the death of the sitting MLAs.

The contest in all the three seats was mainly between the SP, the BJP and the Congress since the Bahujan Samaj Party was not in the fray. The low polling percentage at all places, ranging from 45 per cent to 50 per cent, indicated that large scale polarization perhaps did not take place.

In the two seats of western UP — Muzaffarnagar and Deoband in Saharanpur — the SP failed to get even sympathy votes despite putting up relatives of the deceased legislators.

In Deoband, the surprise winner was the Congress party whose candidate Maviya Ali defeated SP’s Meena Rana. But the result in Muzaffarnagar was the most interesting where after the 2013 communal riots in the district, a communal polarization had been evident and the people in general harboured an anti-establishment feeling.

The Congress lost two of the three seats in Karnataka where Assembly elections are due in 2018. The BJP got the better of the ruling Congress in a virtual direct fight when it retained Hebbal seat in Bangalore. But the two parties snatched each other’s seats in Devadurga and Bidar.

The ruling RJD-JD(U)-Congress coalition, which had recently come to power in Bihar with a massive majority, faced an embarrassment when the Congress candidate was defeated in Harlakhi constituency by BJP ally RLSP.
In the other five states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana and Tripura respectively, where one by-election each was held, the ruling parties —the BJP, the Shiv Sena, the Akali Dal, the TRS and the CPI (M) — won the by-elections.

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