New Delhi: A severe drubbing for the Congress in Hisar and two other losses in Assembly bypolls, Khadakvasala in Maharashtra and Banswada in Andhra Pradesh. The party is continuing to put up a brave face, dismissing suggestions that Team Anna which campaigned against the party played any role in the Battle for Hisar.
In Hisar, Haryana the Congress candidate lost his deposit with Kuldeep Bishnoi supported by the BJP winning. In the the Pawar stronghold of Khadakwasla, the BJP-Sena combine won. In Siwan, Bihar, the JDU candidate supported by the BJP who won, as was expected.
And finally in the Telangana region of Banswada, Andhra Pradesh, the TRS won big, giving the Congress another reminder of its weakening hold over the state.
The man of the moment in Hisar was Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Haryana Janhit Congress, Bhajan Lal faction who was backed by the BJP. But the biggest looser was the Congress. It's candidate Jai Prakash lost his deposit.
An early Diwaly for Kuldeep Bishnoi and Haryana Janhit Congress supporters out on the streets of Hissar with their leader romping home.
Bishnoi was alwayes the frontrunner in the by-elections necessitated by his father Bhajan Lal's death. The slender margin of just over six thousand votes was the dampener.
The one man who is smiling but not speaking is Anna Hazare. His village of Ralegan Siddhi, was clearly pleased with the bypoll outcome and Anna's supporters said it was a warning to the Congress. The social activist on his blog today warned the Congress he would campaign in other states as well.
Bishnoi, however, declined to credit Team Anna for his win and instead said that Anna Hazare should have targeted all corrupt parties and not just the Congress.
He claimed that Team Anna's anti-Congress campaign did not help him while the Congress merely said that the party will study the result to find out the cause of the defeat.
But this election has been more about the loosers. To everyone's surprise, INLD's Ajay Chautala written off by many gave a scare to Bishnoi. But the real story was Congress candidate jai Prakash, who lost his deposit, got votes less than 1.5 lakhs, less than half the votes individually polled by Bishnoi and Chutala.
Kuldeep Bishnoi (42) got 3,55,941 votes, Ajay Chautala (50) was second with 3,49,618 while Jai Prakash could manage only 1,49,785 votes.
What's more worrying for the congress is the substantial decrease in its own vote share as compared to 2009 despite higher voting percentage this year.
"Whenever the party loses in any elections, the party has to study the reasons for the failure," said senior Congress leader and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
So, has Anna factor worked in Hisar? It was Team Anna's first brush with electoral poltics with Arvind Kejriwal asking voters to vote against the Congress party.
Arvind Kejriwal said, "Hope the messege of Hisar has gone out. The PM has written to Anna saying he favours a strong Lokpal Bill. Then, we won't oppose the Congress."