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What do the by-election results foretell?

The results of by-elections held a few months before major elections usually give an indication of which way the political wind is blowing. That way the results of the by-polls held in three Lok Sabha and 30 Assembly constituencies at the end of last week are being seen as having a bearing on the crucial Assembly elections coming up in five states early next year. The only problem is that with the emaciated state of the Indian media, clear cut analysis of the results of the by-elections is not forthcoming.But what most newspapers and channels have noted broadly is the setback for the BJP in Himachal Pradesh and the clean sweep for the BJP and its allies in the North Eastern states.
What is being missed is the undercurrent of disenchantment with the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah led ruling dispensation across the country.The people appear to be poised for voting for a change if there is a clear alternative. This is apparent from the BJP losing all three Assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat, for which by-elections were held in Himachal Pradesh. The only alternative to the BJP in the state is the Congress. In such a situation, the Himachal people voted unambiguously for the Congress.
But in the north-east, the Congress has been whittled down by defections and the lack of an effective leadership and consequently was not able to pose a challenge to the BJP. The ruling party at the Centre has also used its leverage to cement alliances with the local dominant political parties.The pattern more or less can be seen replicated in other parts of the country. The parties opposed to the Narendra Modi led dispensation have been able to provide an alternative, when they are perceived to be able to beat back the BJP.
The by-elections make it clear that the opposition parties can overcome the challenge from the BJP with a clear cut strategy. The year long agitation by farmers against the retrograde farm laws of the Centre has created the momentum for defeating the BJP in the north western and central states, including Uttarakhand and western parts of Uttar Pradesh.The by-elections show the way forward for the Congress and other opposition parties to beat back the BJP and allied forces.


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