Rajasthan bypolls: Congress forges ahead in all three seats

PTI1_29_2018_000255A Voters stand in queue as they wait to cast their votes at a polling station during the byelection in Ajmer on January 29 | PTI

In a spectacular showing, the Congress on Thursday raced ahead of the BJP in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Ajmer and Alwar and the Mandalgarh assembly seat where byelections took place on Monday.

Congress candidates led from the beginning in both the Lok Sabha seats and edged past the BJP in Mandalgarh after initially trailing at the second spot, Election Commission officials said.

Even as the vote count continued, Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress had secured 245,774 votes in Alwar against Jaswant Singh Yadav's (BJP) 192,924 votes.

Raghu Sharma of the Congress had 154,336 votes in his kitty against the 128,291 bagged by the BJP's Ram Swaroop Lamba in Ajmer.

Vivek Dhakar of the Congress led by 2,112 votes in Mandalgarh. He had 45,011 votes against 42,999 votes of the BJP.

A total of 42 candidates were in the fray in the three seats, all of which were held by the BJP.

The elections were necessitated by the deaths of Sanwarlal Jat (Ajmer), Mahant Chand Nath Yogi (Alwar) and Kirti Kumari (Mandalgarh).

With assembly elections scheduled later this year in Rajasthan, party leader and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the results were a precursor to the 2019 general elections.

"This byelection is a vote against BJP's divisive politics," Gehlot told reporters.

He took a dig at the BJP government in the state, saying apart from changing the names of Congress-era schemes, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had done nothing in the past four years.

"Unemployment is hurting the youth. Today's trends can be seen as precursor to not just state assembly polls later this year but also to the next Lok Sabha polls," he said.

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