The Congress won the Assembly bye-elections in Dantewada constituency of Chhattisgarh on Friday, PTI reported. Its candidate Devti Karma defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party nominee Ojaswi Mandavi by a margin of 11,192 votes. Communist Party of India candidate Bhimsen Mandavi stood third with 7,664 votes, a poll official said.

Voting was held on September 23. The voting percentage was 60.59%.

The bye-election was necessitated after BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi, Ojaswi Mandavi’s husband, was killed in a Maoist attack earlier this year. Devti Karma is the wife of murdered Congress leader Mahendra Karma. With this victory, Congress will now hold all 12 seats from Bastar. The party’s tally in the 90-member strong Assembly will increase from 68 to 69.

Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh congratulated Devti Karma on her win. However, he alleged that the Congress used government machinery to secure the victory. “I have seen several elections, but for the first time I saw an unusual thing,” Singh said. “The district collector seemed to be acting like the chief election campaigner of the Congress and entire administration was working with him.”

The Congress claimed the victory was a result of the state government’s pro-farmer and pro-tribal policies. “By giving their blessings in the Dantewada bye-poll, people have reposed faith in the work being done by the state government to create a new Chhattisgarh,” Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel tweeted. “This is the victory of dreams of Late Mahendra Karma. Congratulations and wishes to Devti Karma.”

Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh’s Hamirpur Assembly constituency, the BJP’s Yuvraj Singh won by more than 17,000 votes. Samajwadi Party candidate Manoj Kumar Parjapati came second. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party did not form an alliance for this bye-poll.

The BJP also emerged successful in the bye-election in Tripura’s Badharghat seat. Its candidate Mimi Majumder emerged victorious with 20,471 votes while the nearest contestant and Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate, Bulti Biswas, received 15,211 votes. The Congress finished third. The Badharghat bye-poll was necessitated by the death of sitting MLA Dilip Sarkar on April 1.

Earlier in the day, the Left Democratic Front secured a victory over the Congress in the Pala Assembly bye-poll in Kerala. The Left Democratic Front’s Mani C Kappan received 54,137 votes, defeating United Democratic Front candidate Jose Tom Pulikkunnel by 2,943 votes. The National Democratic Alliance candidate, N Hari, received only 18,044 votes to finish third.

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