SP candidate cruises ahead in Ballia Lok Sabha bypoll

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Ballia/Lucknow, Jan 2 (UNI) Opposition Samajwadi Party candidate and son of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, Neeraj Shekhar, has taken a massive lead of 81,391 votes OVER his nearest BSP rival Vinay Shankar Tiwari after 12 rounds of counting for the Ballia Lok Sabha by-election.

In a major humiliation, candidates of the two national parties-- BJP and Congress-- were in the fourth and fifth position respectively. Little known Bharatiya Samaj Party candidate Suhail Dev was in the third spot with 16,841 votes.

After 12 rounds of counting, the SP candidate led by 81,391 votes against a tough BSP rival. Mr Shekhar recieved 1,79,666 votes while the BSP got 98,275 votes, EC sources said. Ten more rounds would be held before final results are out, the EC added.

After eight rounds of counting, the BJP candidate recieved 8066 votes while the Congress got 3062 ballots.

Counting of votes for the bypoll to the Ballia Lok Sabha constituency, which was held on December 29, commenced this morning amid tight security arrangements at Ballia collectorate.

The seat fell vacant following the demise of former Prime Minister and sitting MP Chandrashekhar.

An estimated 38 per cent polling was recorded for the Ballia Lok Sabha byelection on December 29.

Principal opposition Samajwadi Party had fielded the son of late Chandrashekhar, Neeraj Shekhar.

BSP had fielded Vinay Shankar Tiwari -- the son of former UP minister and strongman Hari Shankar Tiwari.

Tiwari was one of the strongest contenders in the fray banking on the polarisation of Brahmin and Dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh, which was witnessed in the last assembly elections.

The BJP and the Congress had given tickets to Virendra Singh and Rajiv Upadhyay respectively.

The result would decide the fate of 16 nominees, including 6 independents, at the hustings.

In the last assembly polls held in March last year, of the five assembly segments in Ballia LS seat, three seats of Sadar, Baansdih and Doaba were won by BSP, while the remaining Kopacheet and Chiklehar were snatched by SP.

If the total votes polled here in the last UP assembly poll in April-May are added, SP and BSP had cornered 1.55 lakh and 1.54 lakh votes respectively.

The BJP and Congress candidates in the assembly segments falling under the Ballia parliamentary constituency had polled 82,544 and 50,273 votes.

Ballia Lok Sabha seat has about 15.22 lakh voters and based on the caste equation, no community can claim to be a majority in the area.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, Congress had not fielded its candidate from Ballia seat. The main fight was between Chandrashekhar, who also commanded SP's support, BSP's Kapil Dev Yadav and BJP nominee P N Tiwari.

The Young Turk polled over 2.70 lakh votes and was declared elected defeating Kapil Dev of BSP, who got 1.98 lakh votes.

BJP's nominee secured third position with 1.1 lakh votes.

UNI MB NAB YA DB1354

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