Byelection: Congress Turns a Loser in North-East

NEW DELHI: The oldest political party of India is facing a crisis in north-eastern States, and it became visible after the results of nine byelections came out on Tuesday, while the polling was conducted on 30 October in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Assam along with a few other States in the country. Indian National Congress (INC) lost all the competing assembly seats as it failed to get any of the candidates elected to the respective legislative assemblies.

The victorious Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) succeeded in most of the seats. The scheduled byelections in Nagaland was evaded as the ruling National Democratic Progressive Party candidate S Keoshu Yimchunger was declared a winner unopposed from Shamtorr-Chessor assembly seat. Need not mention that presently there are no INC ruled States in the region and it is not even an ally to any north-eastern governments.

The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) nominee K. Laldawngliana defeated his nearest rival Pu Laltlanmawia (from Zoram People’s Movement) in Tuirial constituency by a margin of 1,284 votes. The INC representative Chalrosanga Ralte found himself in third place.

In Meghalaya, the ruling MDA coalition bagged all three seats, where also the Congress lost the electoral battles. National People’s Party (NPP) nominee Abdus Saleh won from Rajabala constituency defeating his nearest opponent Hashina Yasmin Mondal (INC) with a margin of 1926. United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate Ashahel D Shira was placed in the third position.

Similarly, NPP candidate Pyniaidsing Syiem defeated the nearest rival Highlender Kharmalki (INC) in Mawrynkneng seat with the margin of 1816. On the other hand, UDP nominee Eugeneson Lyngdoh emerged victorious in Mawphlang constituency against Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem (INC) with a margin of 4401 votes.

In Assam, all five seats were grabbed by the BJP and its political ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) defeating the Congress candidates in each constituency. Other losing parties include All India United Democratic Front of Assam, Bodoland People’s Front, Gana Suraksha Party, Communist Party of India, etc. More amazingly, all the three winning BJP candidates abandoned the Congress and AIUDF recently that necessitated the byelections in Thowra, Mariani and Bhabanipur constituencies.

Sushanta Borgohain, a former Congress legislator, won in Thowra seat defeating Dhaijya Konwar (an independent candidate) by a margin of 30,561 votes. Another former Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi succeeded in Mariani seat defeating Luhit Konwar (INC) by a margin of 40104 votes. Similarly, a firmer AIUDF legislator Phanidhar Talukdar won from Bhabanipur constituency defeating Sailendra Nath Das (INC) by a margin of 25641.

On the other hand, UPPL candidate Jiron Basumatary defeated Jowel Tudu (INC) in Gossaigaon seat under the Bodoland territorial area by a margin of 28252 votes. Similarly, another UPPL nominee Jolen Daimary defeated Ganesh Kachary (independent candidate) in Tamulpur seat, also in BTR, by a margin of 57059 votes.

Even though the saffron supporters were in victory mood, no victory procession was taken out following the strict guidelines of Election Commission of India. The election authority even permitted only two persons to accompany the winning candidate (or his/her authorized representative) to receive the certificate. Necessary precautions were also made in view of the Covid-19 restrictions across the country.