The ruling Congress on Tuesday won the bypolls to the Vallabhnagar and Dhariawad Assembly segments in Rajasthan, pushing the opposition BJP to the third and fourth places there.
Before the bypolls, the Dhariawad seat was represented by the BJP and Vallabhnagar by the Congress.
With the win, the tally of the Congress in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly reached 108 against BJP’s 71 MLAs.
The BJP has accepted defeat in the bypolls, with its state chief Satish Poonia saying it depended on “local equations”.
In Pratapgarh’s Dhariawad, Congress candidate Nagraj Meena won by a margin of 18,725 votes.
Mr Meena defeated his nearest rival and Independent candidate Thawarchand, according to the result declared by the Election Commission.
Mr Nagraj and Mr Thawarchand secured 69,819 (39.16 per cent) and 51,094 (28.66 per cent) votes, respectively.
BJP candidate Khet Singh stood third with 46,487 (26.08 per cent) votes.
Meanwhile, Preeti Shaktawat defeated Rashtriya Loktantrik Party’s candidate Udailal Dangi in Vallabhnagar by a margin of 20,606 votes.
Ms Shaktawat received 65,713 votes and Mr Dangi 45,107.
Mr Dangi is a BJP rebel who contested as an RLP candidate.
Former BJP MLA and chief of the Janta Sena, Randhir Singh Bhindar, who contested as an independent candidate, stood third by securing 43,817 votes.
BJP candidate Himmat Singh Jhala got 21,433 votes.
Preeti Shaktawat is the wife of former MLA Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, who had died due to coronavirus.
After the results, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted that people have stamped on their policies, programmes and good governance.
He said by supporting the Congress candidates, people have given more strength to the state government.
“Congratulations and best wishes to Preeti Shaktawat and Nagaraj Meena for their victory in the Assembly by-elections. Gratitude to the voters of both constituencies and congratulations to the workers and leaders of the Congress party,” he tweeted.
Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra said that the bypolls results indicate that Congress government in the state is doing good job and the party will form government again in the upcoming assembly elections in 2023 with a huge margin.
“This is a direct message that there is no anti-government wave and its popularity has increased. Our government is doing a good job and Congress will form government in Rajasthan again in 2023,” Mr Dotasra said.
On the other hand, the BJP accepted defeat in the bypolls, with the party’s state chief Satish Poonia saying it was “circumstantial” and depended on “local equations”.
“This defeat is natural; is circumstantial and depended on local equations and issues,” he said.
“We have to learn and move forward with lessons while maintaining morale, confidence and avoiding criticism. Even when we were in power, we had moved ahead by taking lessons from the defeat in the bypolls,” Mr Poonia tweeted.
State Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas said the Congress contested the elections on the governance delivered by the Ashok Gehlot government and raised issues of the rise in petrol, diesel and LPG gas prices.
He said the results showed that the leadership of Ashok Gehlot is successful.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)