Congress wins Jharkhand by-poll

Ranchi, Dec 17 (IANS) The BJP-led NDA on Thursday suffered a setback in Jharkhand’s Lohardaga assembly by-election, losing it to the Congress by a huge margin.

Congress’ Sukhdeo Bhagat defeated BJP-backed All Jharkhand Students Union’s (AJSU) candidate Niru Bhagat by 23,288 votes. Bhagat managed to bag 73,859 votes, while the AJSU could get only 50,571.

The three main candidates were convicted legislator Kamla Kishore Bhagat’s wife Niru Bhagat of AJSU, Sukhdeo Bhagat of the Congress, and Bandhu Tirkey of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P).

While the JVM-P candidate got 16,951 votes, as many as 2,019 people opted for NOTA — none of the above on the voting machine.

At least 67 percent of the 2.20-lakh electorate voted on December 14 in the Lohardaga assembly by-election to a seat that fell vacant after AJSU legislator Kamla Kishore Bhagat was convicted and handed down a seven-year jail term in July in an extortion case.

“People have started showing mirror to BJP. The people of Lohardaga have given their response to the one-year governance of the BJP in Jharkhand,” said Alamgir Aalam, a Congress legislator said.

There were nine candidates for the seat that is reserved for tribals.

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