Jaipur: The Congress on Thursday was ahead of the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Ajmer and Alwar and the Assembly seat of Mandalgarh in Rajasthan as officials counted the votes polled in by-elections held on Monday.

Congress candidates led from the beginning in both the Lok Sabha seats and forged ahead in Mandalgarh after initially trailing at the second spot, Election Commission officials said.

Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress was ahead of Jaswant Singh Yadav of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Alwar by around 10,000 votes.

Raghu Sharma of the Congress was leading by 8,648 votes in Ajmer, his nearest rival being the BJP's Ram Swaroop Lamba.

Vivek Dhakar of the Congress led by 1,864 votes in Mandalgarh. After the 12th round of counting, the Congress had bagged 39,464 votes against 37,600 votes secured by the BJP.

A total of 42 candidates were in the fray in the three seats, all of which were held by the BJP.

The elections were necessitated by the deaths of Sanwarlal Jat (Ajmer), Mahant Chand Nath Yogi (Alwar) and Kirti Kumari (Mandalgarh).

With Assembly elections scheduled later this year in Rajasthan, party leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the results were a precursor to the 2019 general elections.

"This by-election is a vote against BJP's divisive politics," Gehlot told reporters.

He took a dig at the BJP government in the state, saying apart from changing the names of Congress-era schemes, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had done nothing in the past four years.

"Unemployment is hurting the youth. Today's trends can be seen as precursor to not just state Assembly polls later this year but also to the next Lok Sabha polls," he said. (IANS)