A week after the INDIA alliance said it will contest next year’s Lok Sabha election “together”, the “as far as possible” addendum has become evident in bypolls to Assembly seats in Kerala, Uttarakhand and Bengal. In each state INDIA members are competing against, or have defeated, each other.
In the southern state, the Congress fought off the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Aam Aadmi Party, in addition to the Bharatiya Janata Party, to win the Puthuppally seat.
In Bengal’s Dhupguri, the CPM and Congress have turned allies to fight the Trinamool and the BJP.
And in Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar the Congress and the Samajwadi Party – allies for the bypoll in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi – are in a three-way contest that includes, of course, the BJP.
The good news for supporters of the INDIA bloc is that in the four other seats the alliance has presented a united front. In more bad news though, the BJP has, nevertheless, won two already.
The BJP has won the Boxanagar and Dhanpur seats in Tripura and is leading in Bageshwar.
LIVE COVERAGE | Big Wins For BJP In Tripura, INDIA Bloc Closes In On UP’s Ghosi
In Ghosi – pitched as potentially the first big electoral test for INDIA – the Samajwadi Party’s Sudhakar Singh is leading, and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (another INDIA member) is leading in Dumri.
The Dhupguri, Puthuppally, Bageshwar, Dumri and Boxanagar bypolls were necessitated by the deaths of sitting MLAs, while resignations forced fresh elections in Ghosi and Dhanpur.
These are the first elections of any kind since the INDIA bloc met in Mumbai and said they intend to contest all future elections “together as far as possible”.
The wording raised eyebrows and spawned questions, specifically of the kind the bloc’s formation was to eliminate, including the million-dollar one – just how united is the group as its bids to defeat the BJP?