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Congress defeated in Delhi by-polls, NDA shocked in Bihar

Source: PTI
September 18, 2009 02:09 IST
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The ruling Congress received a jolt in the national capital on Thursday when it lost two assembly seats earlier held by it, as Bharatiya Janata Party wrested one while the Rashtriya Janata Dal opened its account in the city. In Dwarka constituency, BJP candidate Parduymn Rajput defeated his Congress rival Tilotma Choudhary by a margin of 11,365 votes while in Okhla seat RJD's Asif Mohd Khan emerged victorious over the Bahujan Samaj Party's Braham Singh by more than 5000 votes. Congress candidate Farhad Suri came third in the Muslim-dominated constituency, getting 17,804 votes while RJD and BSP polled 23,394 and 18,387 votes respectively. In Dwarka, Rajput polled 35,891 votes against Choudhary's 24,526 votes.

The Congress' tally in the assembly has reduced from 42 to 40 while BJP's total strength increased from 23 to 24. The RJD has opened its account for the first time in the city. The by-poll in Dwarka was necessitated after sitting Congress MLA Mahabal Mishra was elected to the Lok Sabha from West Delhi seat while the election in Okhla was conducted after sitting MLA Pervez Hashmi was elected to Rajya Sabha. The setback for the Congress in the national capital came almost 10 months after the party registered a historic win retaining power for the third consecutive term. In Okhla, various factors resulted in the Congress' defeat, including the Nationalist Congress Party fielding Ram Singh Bidhuri, a former Congress leader, and Hashmi's supporters reportedly not working in favour of Suri after the leadership refused to give ticket to a person of the Rajya Sabha MP's choice. Khan had lost the last assembly election by a narrow margin of 400 votes to Hashmi.

In a jolt to the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar, opposition RJD, Lok Janshakti Party and Congress bagged ten assembly seats while the Janata Dal-United and BJP won six seats in the by-elections in 18 constituencies. The two other seats went to BSP and an independent. The JD-U, which heads the ruling coalition in the state, retained Munger, Triveniganj, Dhuraiya and Bagha, while its ally BJP pocketed Begusarai and Chainpur. RJD emerged victorious in Kalyanpur, Bochaha, Fulwari, Ramgarh and Aurai and ally LJP won from Bodh Gaya, Warisnagar and Araria. Congress wrested Simri Bakhtiarpur and Chenari seats from JD-U, which yielded Nautan seat to BSP. An independent was declared elected from Ghosi seat. Expressing happiness over the poll outcome, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said "We are not finished. We finish others. The result is a warning bell for (chief minister) Nitish Kumar".

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