Stage set for by-polls in 4 Lok Sabha, 10 assembly seats today
The stage is set for the bypoll to 10 assembly constituencies and four Lok Sabha seats across 10 states which are scheduled to take place on May 28th i.e Monday.
The Lok Sabha seats which will go on polls are Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra and the sole parliamentary constituency in Nagaland.
The byelection will also be held in Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh), Shahkot (Punjab), Jokihat (Bihar), Gomia and Silli (Jharkhand), Chengannur (Kerala), Palus Kadegaon (Maharashtra), Ampati (Meghalaya), Tharali (Uttarakhand) and Maheshtala (West Bengal).
Meanwhile, the counting for all the seats will take place on 31 May.
Kairana and Noorpur bypolls
The polling for Kairana Lok Sabha seat is spread in two districts of Shamli and Saharanpur, while in Noorpur Assembly segment, polling would be held in Bijnore district. The Kairana Lok Sabha seat comprises of five Assembly segments, including Nakur and Gangoh in Saharanpur district and Kairana, Thana Bhawan and Shamli in Shamli district.
The contest in Kairana will be watched with considerable interest also because BJP is fielding Mriganka Singh, daughter of the sitting MP Hukum Singh whose death necessitated the by-election. Mriganka had unsuccessfully contested Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2017 from Kairana where she was defeated by Nahid Hasan, son of former MP, the late Munawar Hasan, by over 21,000 votes
Former MP Tabassum Hasan is the joint candidate put forth by the Opposition in Kairana. She will be contesting on a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) ticket. The Samajwadi Party and Ajit Singh's RLD have thrashed out a formula to combine traditional arch-rivals - Jats and Muslims - to oust the BJP. BSP and the Congress are not contesting the polls and are likely to extend their support to the Opposition candidate.
Meanwhile, in Noorpur, the main contest is likely to be between BJP's Avnish Singh and Samajwadi Party's Naim Ul-Hasan. The BSP is again not fielding a candidate. Also in the fray are Lok Dal's Gohar Iqbal, Rashtriya Janhit Sangharsh Party's Zaheer Alam, Bharatiya Momin Front's Maya, Uttar Pradesh Republican Party's Ram Ratan, and four Independent candidates.
Bypolls to the Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.
The byelection will also be held in the lone Nagaland Lok Sabha seat which was necessitated after the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader Neiphiu Rio, now chief minister of Nagaland, resigned as a Lok Sabha member in February. It will be a test of strength between the candidate of the Naga People's Front (NPF) supported by Congress and the nominee of the ruling People's Democratic Alliance (PDA).
In Bihar, it would be another test of strength between Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) and RJD of Lalu Prasad at Jokihat in Araria district. The by-election to the Jokihat Assembly seat in Bihar has been necessitated due to the resignation of JD(U) MLA Sarfaraz Alam, who quit the party earlier this year and got elected on an RJD ticket to the Lok Sabha from Araria, a seat held by his late father Mohammad Taslimuddin.
The bypoll in Kerala's Chengannur constituency was necessitated following the death of sitting MLA KK Ramachangran Nair (CPM) in January this year. Chengannur has always voted for the Congress except on four occasions when it went with the communists. The ruling coalition has fielded Saji Cherian, the CPI(M) district secretary in Alappuzha, while the Congress is banking on D Vijayakumar. The BJP has repeated its candidate from the last election, PS Sreedharan Pillai.
The bypoll in Maharashtra's Palus Kadegaon was necessitated because of the death of sitting Congress MLA and former minister Patangrao Kadam. Kairana, the Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar Lok Sabha seats are also going to be a prestige battle for BJP, as these seats were previously being held by the BJP.
By-election to Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat was necessitated when in early December 2017, sitting member Nana Patole quit the BJP and the Lok Sabha seat to join the Congress, while the Palghar seat in north Konkan fell vacant after sitting BJP MP Chintaman Vanga died on 30 January following a heart attack.
BJP has already received a jolt in Palghar with the Vanga family exiting BJP and joining its bitter ally Shiv Sena.
The BJP and Sena, who are allies in the state and central governments, have refused to form any pre-poll alliance for the by-elections. Sena has fielded the late BJP MP's son Srinivas Chintaman Vanga from the seat. According to IANS, the Vanga family is miffed with BJP's leadership, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, for ignoring them after the former MP's death.
Shrinivas is up against BJP's Gavit Rajendra Dhedya and Congress' Damodar Barku Shingada.
However, Congress and Shiv Sena are both not contesting the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat where the main fight is between Hemant Patle of the BJP and Madhukar Kukde of the NCP. There are also eight Independents and one candidate each from Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, Bahujan Republican Socialist Party, Baliraja Party, Bahujan Mukti Party, Akhil Bharatiya Manavta Paksha, Ambedkarite Party of India, Gondvana Gantantra Party and Vidarbha Maza Party.
Interestingly, Congress is likely to win the by-election in Palus-Kadegaon Assembly seat uncontested, with Election Commission showing Congress candidate Kadam Vishwajeet Patangrao as the lone candidate. Candidates from other parties, including the BJP's candidate, had their nomination either rejected or withdrawn.
Amid alliances, break-ups, and splits, the Sahkot bypoll in Punjab is emerging as a high-octane contest between Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dali (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Shahkot bypoll was necessitated following the death of SAD MLA Ajit Singh Kohar.
On the one hand, Apna Punjab Party district president Jagtar Singh Chandi and his supporters joined the Congress, while the Aam Aadmi Party saw three of its leaders joining SAD.
Meanwhile, fearing violence during the polls, six companies of paramilitary forces are going to be deployed to ensure free and fair polling.
In Jharkhand's Gomia Assembly seat, though there is a total of 13 candidates, but the main contest is between BJPs Madhavlal Singh, AJSU's Lambodar Mahto and Jharkhand Mukti Morchas Babita Devi, wife of disqualified MLA Yogendra Mahto.
In Silli, also in Jharkhand, of the total ten candidates, the main contest will be between the former deputy chief minister and AJSU president Sudesh Mahto and Seema Mahto, wife of disqualified MLA Amit Mahto.
The by-poll in both Gomia and Silli Assembly seats were necessitated following the conviction of Yogendra Mahto (Gomia) and Amit Mahto (Silli). Both were elected on JMM tickets in the 2014 Assembly elections.
The bypoll in Mahestala Assembly seat in West Bengal will mainly witness a three-corner contest with the ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the Left Front in the fray. TMC has fielded Dulal Chandra Das, husband of MLA Kasturi Das who passed away in February, while CPM has gone with Pravat Chowdhury. The BJP has put up Sujit Kumar Ghosh.
Though there are five candidates in the fray, the Tharali Assembly bypoll is likely to be a straight contest between BJP and Congress. BJP has fielded late Mangal Shah's wife Munni Devi Shah while Congress has fielded professor Jeet Ram. Also in the fray are UKD's Kashbi Lal Shah, CPM's Kunwar Ram and Independent candidate Beere Ram. The seat has traditionally been a BJP stronghold. Bypolls here were necessitated after the death of Mangal Shah.
The by-election in Meghalaya's Ampati seat will witness a fight between the Congress and the BJP-backed National Peoples Party. An independent candidate is also in the fray.
Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has vacated the Ampati seat which necessitated the by-poll. The Congress had won 21 seats in February Assembly poll which has now come down to 20 with Sangma vacating the seat. The Congress has fielded Mukul Sangma's daughter Miani D Shira as its candidate while Clement G Momin is pitted against her as the candidate of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance.
Polls will also be held in RR Nagar (Karnataka)
Rajrajeswari Nagary Assembly seat in Karnataka, will also go on polls for which was suspended following the recovery of nearly 10,000 voter ID cards from a flat in the constituency. Both BJP and Congress had indulged in a blame game after officials said prima facie that most of the voter ID cards recovered seemed genuine. But now that the Congress and JD(S) have joined hands to form the Karnataka government, candidates from both of them are eyeing to win the seat.
(with PTI input)