Counting of votes has been underway on Thursday for the bye-elections that were held in Rajasthan and West Bengal on Monday.

In Rajasthan, bye-elections were held in two Lok Sabha seats, Alwar and Ajmer, and one Assembly constituency, Mandalgarh. All three seats fell vacant in 2017 following the deaths of the incumbents – Ajmer’s MP Sanwar Lal Jat, Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari and Alwar MP Mahant Chand Nath.

In a blow to the Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan, Congress’ Vivek Dhakad won the Mandalgarh Assembly constituency by 12,976 votes.

The Congress won both the Lok Sabha seats as well. In Alwar, Congress candidate Karan Singh Yadav defeated the BJP’s Jaswant Singh Yadav by a margin of 1,96,496 votes, the Rajasthan Election Commission’s website showed.

In Ajmer, the Congress’s candidate Raghu Sharma defeated the BJP’s Ramswaroop Lamba by 84,414 votes.

The BJP’s state president Ashok Parnami held a press conference and accepted the defeat, NDTV reported. “We will work harder and form government in 2019,” he said.

A jubilant Sachin Pilot, the President of Rajasthan Congress, said that this is the beginning of the end for the ruling party in the state. “Hats off to the hard work put in by all the Congress workers, leaders, volunteers and well wishers,” he tweeted.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi too congratulated his party members in the state.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said her government would keep the welfare of the people of Rajasthan at the forefront and wished the Congress candidates who had won. “I congratulate the winning candidates and welcome them to this celebration of democracy,” she tweeted.

The leader of the Rajput Karni Sena, which led the protests against the Hindi film Padmaavat, said the results indicated that people in the state were not happy with the BJP. “For the first time ever in Rajasthan bye-elections, candidates from the ruling party did not win,” Lokendra Singh Kalvi said. “I would suggest PM to ban it [Padmaavat], it is the only solution.”

West Bengal bye-elections

In West Bengal, elections were held for the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat and the Noapara Assembly seat, both necessitated again by the deaths of the incumbents.

In Noapara, the Trinamool Congress’ Sunil Singh won the bye-elections with 1,11,729 votes. The BJP’s Sandip Banerjee came second receiving 38,711 votes, followed by Gargi Chaterjee of the CPI (M) with 35,487 votes and the Congress’ Goutam Bose who received 10,527 votes. More than 3,400 people voted for None of the Above option in Noapara.

In Uluberia, the TMC’s Sajda Ahamed, widow of lawmaker Sultan Ahmed, won the election by a margin of 2,89,557 votes, The Indian Express reported.