Three months after its spectacular showing in Lok Sabha polls, the BJP today received a jolt in assembly by-elections suffering a 4-6 defeat at the hands of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance in Bihar and yielding two strongholds to Congress in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
Honours were shared in Punjab where the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress won one seat each. Out of the 18 seats in four states for which bypolls were held on August 21, Congress and its allies won 10 while seven went to BJP and one to its ally SAD.
Rebonding of old rivals Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar today checkmated BJP's march in Bihar with secular alliance winning 6 of the 10 Assembly seats where bye-elections were held on August 21.
The remaining four seats were won by BJP, the Election Commission said here.
BJP won Narkatiaganj, Hajipur, Banka and Mohania (SC) seats.
RJD of Lalu Prasad was victorious in Rajnagar (SC), Chapra and Mohiuddinagar. Ruling JD(U) won in Jale and Parbatta, while Congress wrested Bhagalpur from BJP.
In Banka, BJP candidate Ramnarayan Mandal defeated his nearest RJD rival Iqbal Hussain Ansari by a slender margin of 711 votes.
The ruling Congress party won two seats, wresting the prestigious Bellary Rural from BJP which managed to retain one constituency in the fiercely fought August 21 by-polls.
In a blow to BJP, Congress' N Y Gopalakrishna trounced BJP's Obalesh by a margin of 33,104 votes in Bellary Rural, represented earlier by B Sriramulu, who vacated the seat after becoming a Lok Sabha member.
Sriramulu, once considered a trusted lieutenant of mining baron and former minister Janardhana Reddy, had won Bellary Rural in the 2013 Assembly polls as the candidate of his outfit BRS before rejoining BJP ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
In Shikaripura, BJP managed to retain the seat with B Y Raghavendra, son of party National Vice-President and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, winning by a margin of 6,430 votes against Congress' H S Shantaveerappa Gowda in a closely fought battle.
Yeddyurappa had won the Shikaripura seat in the 2013 Assembly elections by a margin of over 24,000 votes as the candidate of Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP), his outfit which merged with BJP months before the Lok Sabha polls. He had represented Shikaripura seven times before making his debut as a Lok Sabha member from Shimoga in the last polls.
Congress retained its traditional stronghold of Chikkodi-Sadalga, where its candidate Ganesh Prakash Hukkeri defeated BJP's Mahantesh Kavatagimath by 31,820 votes.
Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress won one seat each in the by-polls to Patiala (urban) and Talwandi Sabo Assembly seats but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) finished a poor third.
It was a gain for ruling SAD which fought a strong anti-incumbency factor to wrest control over Talwandi Sabo seat from the Congress.
Both Patiala (urban) and Talwandi Sabo seats were with the Congress before they fell vacant.
Patiala seat fell vacant after sitting Congress MLA and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh got elected to Lok Sabha from Amritsar, whereas Talwandi Sabo Assembly seat faced by-poll as sitting Congress MLA Jeet Mohinder Sidhu deserted the party to join the ruling SAD.
Talwandi Sabo Assembly under Bathinda district was retained by SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in the recently held Lok Sabha polls. After the election, Harsimrat was given a ministerial berth in the Narendra Modi cabinet.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir had campaigned vigorously in Talwandi Sabo leaving no stone unturned to ensure the victory of party candidate and "turncoat" Sidhu.
Patiala's royal family maintained its stronghold on Patiala seat, considered to be the strong bastion of the family.
After retaining Patiala seat, Amarinder Singh had emerged as a strong leader of the party in Punjab. He had limited his campaigning for his wife in the run up to the by-polls to Patiala seat.
Preneet, a three time MP was defeated by AAP's Dharamvira Gandhi in the Lok Sabha polls.
AAP which sprung a surprise in the recently held Lok Sabha polls by winning four out of total 13 seats in Punjab, performed badly in the by-polls as its candidates finished third.
Preneet, wife of former chief minister Amarinder Singh, won over her nearest SAD rival by a margin of over 23,282 votes, an election office spokesman said.
Kaur polled 52,967 votes, SAD nominee Bhagwan Dass Juneja 29,685 and AAP candidate Harjit S Adaltiwala 5,724 votes. AAP's candidate lost his security deposit, an election office spokesman said.
Patiala's SAD candidate Juneja not only lost the poll, his son died of cardiac arrest last night.
Keeping this in mind, Preneet canceled her victory procession and expressed sympathies with the bereaved family.
In Talwandi Sabo, SAD's Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu won by a margin of 46,642 votes against his nearest Congress rival Harminder Singh Jassi, a former Congress MLA and close relative of Haryana's Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda sect Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
According to an election office spokesman, Sidhu polled 71,747 votes, Jassi 25,105, AAP's Baljinder Kaur 13,899.
Balkar Singh, who was first declared as party candidate by AAP and later replaced by Baljinder Kaur, polled 6,305 votes.
While a total of eight contestants fought for Patiala seat, seven candidates contested from Talwandi Sabo.
Both the seats witnessed a triangular contest between SAD, Congress and AAP.
In the 117-member Punjab Assembly, ruling SAD's strength had increased to 57 MLAs, while its ally BJP has 12, Congress moved to 45 members and independents three.
After the results, SAD fell one short of getting simple majority as it needed a win on both the assembly seats for it.
SAD has alliance with BJP in the state.
The by-polls to the two seats were held on August 21.
While Talwandi Sabo, which falls under Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency from where Sukhbir's wife Harsimrat Kaur won, had witnessed 82.34 per cent turnout, 60 per cent polling was recorded in Patiala seat, a traditional bastion of Patiala royal family of Amarinder.
In a setback to BJP, Congress wrested the Bahoriband Assembly seat from the ruling party which emerged victorious in Agar and Vijayraghavgarh segments in the by-elections, results of which were announced today.
Sourabh Singh, who joined Congress recently after quitting BSP, won from Bahoriband by a margin of 7,977 votes.
The BJP wrested Vijayraghavgarh from Congress as its candidate Sanjay Pathak won by a convincing margin of 53,397 votes over Congress' former Mayor Brajendra Mishra
Pathak secured 90,084 votes, while Mishra got 36,687.
Pathak had won the 2013 Assembly election from Vijaraghavgarh on a Congress ticket with a thin margin. He later joined the BJP during Lok Sabha elections following differences with senior Congress leaders.
The victory in Bahoriband may boost the morale of Congress, which has been out of power in the state since 2003.
At the seat, Sourabh bagged 76,712 votes while BJP's Pranav Pandey got 68,735 votes in a keenly contested by-poll held on August 21.
In the run up to the election, former Congress MLA Nishith Patel from the same seat had joined BJP.
The by-poll in Bahoriband was necessitated after sitting BJP MLA Prabhat Pandey, who won the poll in 2013, died. BJP fielded his son Pranav from the seat.
Meanwhile, BJP retained the Agar Assembly seat with its candidate Gopal Parmar defeating Congress' Rajkumar Gore by a margin of 27,102 votes.
The by-poll was necessitated in Agar (Malwa) after sitting BJP MLA Manohar Untwal got elected as MP from Dewas Lok Sabha seat.
To borrow from Mark Twain, reports of the death of the UPA are greatly exaggerated.
Victory for Bihar-Tihar alliance.