In Lok Sabha, BJP down to 273 seats from 282 seats

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New Delhi: In 2014, the BJP won 282 Lok Sabha seats in the general elections, 10 more than the halfway mark of 272, a healthy majority. Cut to 2018, the BJP’s individual tally in the lower house as of May 31, stands at 273, excluding the Speaker.
Having won the Palghar seat out of the four bypoll results declared on May 31, 2018, the BJP still enjoys a majority in the lower house and a comfortable one with its 12 allies.
However, the fact that its own numbers are down by eight seats (not including the Speaker) indicate the party will have to work harder in the run up to the 2019 general elections.
How did the BJP’s tally in the Lok Sabha drop to 273? One, the recent resignations of two BJP MPs BS Yeddyurappa and B Sreeramulu. Both of them quit after taking oath as MLAs in Karnataka.
Two, losses in bypolls, and this is what requires some soul searching. The BJP has lost 8 seats of the 13 it originally held, in by-elections. This includes the loss of two seats of the three it originally held whose results were declared today.
Crucial among them was the Kairana seat in UP, which fell vacant due to death of Hukam Singh. The BJP lost it to the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD). It is important to note that the RJD candidate was supported by the Congress, SP and the BSP, and this is the third time that the BJP has lost to a united opposition in UP. It had earlier lost the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats in UP to a SP, BSP combine opposition after they were vacated by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy CM, SP Maurya after the UP assembly elections.
The party’s loss in the Bhandara-Gondia seat in Maharashtra is also noteworthy. The seat fell vacant when BJP MP Nana Patole resigned citing a lack of response from the party’s senior leadership on several issues raised by him. He went back to the join the Congress. That the BJP has also parted ways with its ally the Shiv Sena in the state, further indicates that it is not on a firm footing.
Apart from UP, the BJP earlier lost three other seats in byelections– Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh after death of MP Dileep Singh Bhuria, Gurdaspur in Punjab after death of Vinod Khanna, Alwar and Ajmer in Rajasthan after death of MPs Mahant Chand Nath Yogi and Sanwarlal Jat — pointing to an anti-incumbency sentiment.
The latest losses come on the heels of a blow in Karnataka where despite being the largest party, the BJP failed to form a government. This clearly indicates the party can’t rest on its laurels. To remain formidable in 2019, the party will need to close ranks, ensure the rebels within don’t cut loose and keep its allies together.

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