In a set back to the NDA, the one-year-old BJP government in Jharkhand today lost the Lohardaga Assembly by-election when its candidate Niru Shanti Bhagat got defeated by the Congress aspirant Sukhdeo Bhagat by 23,228 votes.

Sukhdeo Bhagat, who is also the state PCC chief, polled 73,859 votes and Niru Shanti Bhagat of AJSU, an NDA constituent, bagged 50,571 votes. Former Jharkhand Minister Bandhu Tirkey of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) finished third with 16,551 votes, Election Commission officials said.

The by-poll, held on December 14, was necessitated following disqualification of AJSU leader Kamal Kishore Bhagat after he was sentenced to jail for five years in connection with an attack on a doctor in 1993.


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