<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The results for the by-polls have been declared and it is more or less along expected lines. Analysing by-poll results is a dangerous task. Most of the time, the results are heavily skewed in favour of the ruling party.The by-polls were held in six states and one union territory, of which three had assembly polls this year. Hence, the honeymoon factor is likely to be very strong. With all these caveats in place, here are some of the inferences that can be drawn from this round of polls.There were by-polls in 12 assembly constituencies (4 Lok Sabha and 8 Vidhan Sabha) and general elections in two assembly seats in Tamil Nadu where election was cancelled in May. Overall, BJP has increased its tally from 3 to 5. The Congress is down from 4 to 1. AIADMK and TMC have cemented their authority in Tamil Nadu and Bengal respectively. The by-elections became significant as it took place merely a week-and-a-half after the Modi government embarked on a revolutionary note exchange scheme. With demonetization pains felt acutely across the nook and corner of the country, it was a test whether it has impacted the voters, especially in the rural zones, to go beyond their ideological leanings and give BJP a thumbs down. While the full electoral impact of demonetization will only be known in the 2017 round of polls (with the mother of all battles in Uttar Pradesh), the BJP top brass can take heart from the party’s performance this time around. Saffron tilt in North East: Many pundits believed that the North East, where financial inclusion is less, will be adversely affected by demonetization. Well, that effect hasn’t impacted the electorates’ voting pattern so far. In Arunachal, BJP wrested the Hayuliang seat from Congress, where former CM Kalikho Pul’s wife narrowly won the seat with just 944 votes. BJP experiencing a pro-incumbency mood, managed to comfortably win in Assam, wresting one seat from Congress. But the heartening sign for BJP came from Tripura. The Left continued its dominant run winning both the assembly seats. Congress’ vote bank has completely collapsed after the high profile exodus to TMC. But they haven’t managed to transfer all the Congress votes with them. BJP which has painstakingly done ground work in Tripura has reaped some of its benefits and has emerged as the second largest force with an impressive vote surge of 20%. Tripura is likely to be a red bastion for sometime in the future and the real battle will be for the second place between TMC and BJP.Mamata consolidates her position: In Bengal, TMC won all the three seats which it had held previously. But it has managed to significantly increase its vote share in Monteswar (highest margin in Bengal history) and Tamluk. Rather than getting complacent post a comfortable win in Assembly elections, the party managed to consolidate its number. BJP has come second CoochBehar (+12%) and increased vote share in Tamluk by 9%. Left which has been traditionally been strong in the rural heartlands seems to have completely given up on its base. The vacuum is gradually being filled by BJP, though it needs to find a leader who can match the aggression of Mamata Banerjee. Rupa Ganguly maybe? Mixed fortunes for BJP in Madhya Pradesh:Madhya Pradesh has been a saffron state for a long time post-Digvijay Singh’s disastrous stint. But despite Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s competent rule, anti-incumbency has started to wean off BJP’s core votebank. Congress is a divided house in MP, and hence that gives BJP a decent leeway to stay in power. BJP has won both the Shahdol and the Nepanagar seat. But it has lost 9% vote in Shahdol (LS) and in Nepanagar(VS) it managed to increase its vote-share by 8%. Amma all the way in Tamil Nadu:The AIADMK did a clean sweep in Tamil Nadu winning all the three seats. Amma’s emotional appeal from the hospital bed may well have sealed the election for the ruling party. It significantly managed to increase its vote share also. Congress’ sole victory came in Nellithope, Puducherry where the seating CM managed to win the seat. The clear trend emerging from the polls is that the overall graph is positive for BJP. The backlash which many expected the party to receive post demonetization has clearly not happened. It may also be the case that the full effect of the note exchange hasn’t been felt so far, and the negative repercussions will harm the party later. But opposition parties may do well to slightly modify their stance vis-a-vis demonetization. They may well be seen as supporters of black money hoarders if demonetization indeed manages to get popular support.
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