Need to work harder, says Rajasthan CM after bypoll drubbing

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After fighting eight bypolls seats in the past fours, Congress tally has reached 25 while BJP was reduced to 160 from 163 in the assembly.

Congress candidate Vivek Dhakad won the Mandalgarh Assembly seat, defeating his nearest BJP rival Shakti Singh Hada by almost 13,000 votes.

All three seats were with the BJP earlier.

Will the results trigger a rethink on simultaneous polls? "This is a rejection of the BJP by the people of Rajasthan", Gandhi wrote on Twitter. Raghu Sharma of the Congress won against BJP's Ram Swaroop Lamba in Ajmer. At 3.30 pm, when 70.34% of the votes had been counted, Sharma was leading by 83,096 votes. "Well done Rajasthan Congress!" Ajmer Lok Sabha Constituency, Congress leading by 24256.

A defeat in these by-elections, seen as prestige battle for both the BJP and the Congress, may weaken CM Vasundhara Raje's position within the party.

In Mandalgarh, the Congress established a narrow lead of 3282 votes, party leader Vivek Dhakar securing 55,782 votes. "After failing to appease voters over religion, the BJP tried polarising over caste.It is a victory of people, party workers and all leaders", he said at a press conference. "Young people have realised that the politics of polarisation doesn't work", he said.

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For Pilot, the win in Ajmer was extra special since in 2014, it was he who had lost the election from here to Sanwarlal Jat, who passed away past year.

The outcome of the by-elections of the Lok Sabha constituencies of Ajmer and Alwar and the assembly seat of Mandalgrah in Bhilwara district, has left the Raje-led BJP in the desert state anxious as it has to go to the polls after nine months from now.

With today's win, the Congress's strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up to 48.

The BJP suffered a devastating blow as it faced a complete rout in five byelections held in Rajasthan and West Bengal. The BJP's vote share fell by 6% in these constituencies put together compared to the 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections. Left Front-backed Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate Gargi Chatterjee finished a close third, after running second in the initial rounds of counting.

In the Uluberia parliamentary constituency, TMC's Sajda Ahmed won by over 474,000 votes. Around the time dates for these by-polls were announced, the question on everybody's mind was who would lead the Congress against Vasundhara Raje.

In Bengal, the TMC's Sunil Singh has now won Noapara seat by 63,018 votes. Both Ajmer North and Ajmer South were considered BJP strongholds. In Ajmer, the margin for the victorious Congress candidate was around 84,000 votes with a few still to be counted.