The results of by-elections held for two constituencies of Madhya Pradesh – Mungaoli and Kolaras turned out to be a major jolt for the BJP as Congress regained both seats. However, the reduced margins in vote counts gives BJP a reason to cheer and Congress a reason to fear – despite the victory.

On Wednesday, when results of Madhya Pradesh by-election were declared, Congress managed to retain both Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly constituencies. The by-elections across the nation are seen as litmus test for the political parties, right ahead of the final match – the Assembly election in the state to be held by the end of 2018. So winning and regaining power to both Madhya Pradesh seats certainly gives the Opposition party, Congress to cheer as this will be fourth consecutive victory in the state – the other two were Ater and Khajuraho in 2017 – within a period of 10 months. The consistency perhaps indicates how people could possibly act up in the final match of 2019.

However, despite victory, reduction in margin for poll counts is a reason for Congress to fret upon and a hope for the BJP in upcoming elections. In the Kolaras constituency, Congress candidate Mahendra Singh Yadav defeated the BJP’s Devendra Jain by 8,086 votes. Whereas in Mungaoli, Congress candidate Brajendra Singh Yadav won against BJP rival Bai Sahab Yadav with a margin of 2,124 votes. The victory is seen as an end to the political drought Congress had been facing in Madhya Pradesh since last 15 years. So the BJP cheered for the reduced margins that the Congress won both the seats with.

In the recent round of by-polls, a united Congress successfully took on the much stronger BJP, like in Rajasthan, where the grand old party routed the ruling party in three by-polls – Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha and Mangalgarh assembly. But, the story isn’t the same for results of by-polls in Odisha where BJD candidate Ritarani Sahu won with an impressive margin of 41,933 votes. So by-polls do indicate local political mood, but it cannot be said to be indicator of the same for entire nation. And if any party wants to regain or return to power, they will have to work hard before the final faceoff in 2019.