Congress wins Rajasthan by-polls; Rahul lauds state unit

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"Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh are top concerns for the party as they will go to polls ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections". Three of these 15 seats are held by BJP ministers: Vasudev Devnani (Ajmer North), Anita Bhadel (Ajmer South), and Dr Jaswant Singh Yadav (Behror), who was also the party's candidate for Alwar Lok Sabha seat. "Ajit Jogi may cut into the Congress vote, which will help the BJP", said the BJP functionary.

Elsewhere, Raghu Sharma os Congress won Ajmer parliamentary seat by defeating BJP's Ramswaroop Lamba by 84,414 votes.

Of the 8 assembly segments in each of the Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha constituencies BJP legislators represent 14 - seven each.

The BJP's huge defeat, just one week after the Vasundhra Raje government failed to implement the Supreme Court order that called for the screening of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat in the interest of freedom of speech and expression, has raised questions as to whether the two events were connected. Proud of each and every one of you.

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The loss in the two Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan is a big setback to the BJP considering these were won with significant margins by the party in 2014, when Narendra Modi had led the party to power at the centre. The BJP has lost some Assembly elections since 2014. Incumbent Trinamool Congress (TMC) won both seats by substantial margins. "Or else would the Congress not have raised its stakes in the contest, fielding regular high profile claimants to the Lok Sabha seats", said a party functionary. In Rajasthan, the Congress has rebuilt its organization and its state leaders like Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot enjoy greater credibility among cadre and masses. Dhakar recorded an easy win by defeating BJP's Shakti Singh Hada by nearly 13,000 votes. In Ajmer where Sachin Pilot lost by 1.8 lakh votes in 2014, the Congress was leading by 80,000 votes. BJP candidate Sandip Banerjee got 38,711 votes while CPI-M's Gargi Chatterjee was at number three with 35,497 votes.

The strength of Congress is still much lower compared to the BJP, though the party is high on morale and its leader is ready to question "why people mandated against the BJP" in the house.

In the Uluberia parliamentary constituency, TMC's Sajda Ahmed won by over 474,000 votes. The Noapara by-poll was necessitated by the death of Congress legislator Madhusudan Ghose. "In the next few months we will over come our shortcomings", said BJP functionary Gopal Shetty.

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