New Delhi: By-elections to 3 Lok Sabha and 33 Assembly constituencies spread across 10 States began on Saturday morning on a brisk note.
Voters began to queue up at polling stations for the bypolls in Uttar Pradesh’s one Lok Sabha and 11 Assembly constituencies.
The State’s ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the main contenders in most of the Assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat.
The BJP, which won a whopping 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in May, has the most at stake as it held all the 11 Assembly seats along with its ally Apna Dal.
The Assembly constituencies which will go to the polls on Saturday are Lucknow (East), Charkhari, Sirathu, Balha, Rohania, Nighasan, Saharanpur city, Bijnore, Thalurdwara, Noida, and Hamirpur. Mainpuri is the lone Lok Sabha constituency. The number of voters in Mainpuri is 1647,176.
The biggest Assembly segment in terms of voters is Noida (523,762) and the smallest is Thakurdwara (329,438).
For the Samajwadi Party, the polls are an opportunity to make a comeback, after its disastrous showing in the Lok Sabha battle where its numbers dipped from 22 to five.
The Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency was vacated by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. The SP has fielded Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, a grandnephew of Mulayam Singh, while the BJP has fielded Prem Singh Shakya.
The Bahujan Samaj Party has this time decided not to contest.
Balloting begins in two WB seats
Voting for the Chowringhee and Basirhat (South) Assembly constituencies in West Bengal began at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Chowringhee in Kolkata was won by Trinamool’s Sikha Mitra in 2011 assembly polls, where the party fought jointly with the Congress.
The 2,00,256 electors spread across 222 polling stations have to choose from nine candidates — Trinamool’s Nayna Bandyopadhyay, BJP’s Ritesh Tiwari, Congress’ Santosh K. Pathak, CPI (M)’s Faiyaz Ahmad Khan and five independents.
The Basirhat (South) constituency is a seat newly carved out in 2011. Nearly 235,843 people are eligible to vote in 286 polling stations.
The BJP has made infiltration from across the Bangladesh border a major issue in this constituency.
After two of its leaders were put behind bars in the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scandal, the ruling Trinamool Congress has come under fire from its political rivals.
Voters queue up in Telangana, Andhra
The Medak Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana and the Nandigama Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh went to polls from 7 a.m. on Saturday. The polling in both the constituencies will continue till 6 p.m.
Over 15.43 lakh voters are eligible to cast their franchise in the prestigious Medak parliamentary constituency, which was once represented by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
A total of 14 candidates are in fray in Medak but it is mainly a triangular contest.
Polling begins for 4 Rajasthan Assembly seats
Polling began on Saturday in four Rajasthan Assembly constituencies.
As many as 8.95 lakh people are eligible to cast their votes at 961 polling stations in Nasirabad, Weir, Surajgarh and Kota South.
A total of 23 candidates are in the fray, with maximum of nine candidates contesting from Surajgarh and the minimum of three from Weir.
The by-elections were necessitated as BJP legislators Sanwar Lal Jat from Nasirabad, Bahadur Singh Koli from Weir, Santosh Ahlawat from Surajgarh and Om Birla from Kota South got elected to the Lok Sabha.
The main fight is between the Congress and the ruling BJP.
Poll in Assam, Tripura
Ballotting began on Saturday for by-elections in Assam’s three Assembly constituencies — Silchar, Lakhipur and Jamunamukh, officials said.
By-election for Silchar was necessitated after Congress legislator Sushmita Dev’s election to the Lok Sabha.
The Lakhipur seat fell vacant after the death of sitting legislator and former Minister Dinesh Prasad Goala, while the Jamunamukh seat was vacated by AIUDF leader Sirajuddin Ajmal after being elected to the Lok Sabha from Barpeta.
As many as 25 candidates are in the fray — 12 are contesting in Silchar, five in Lakhipur and eight in Jamunamukh.
Over five lakh electors, including more than two lakh women, will be able to exercise ttheir democratic right at 588 polling stations.
In Tripura, by-elections for the tribal-reserved Manu Assembly constituency on Saturday morning, an official said.
Tripura Chief Electoral officer Ashutosh Jindal said 38,843 voters, including 18,929 women, are eligible to vote in 46 polling stations in 38 locations.
There are six candidates in the fray.
The by-poll was necessitated after former Forest and Rural Development Minister Jitendra Chaudhary, who won the seat five times on the CPI (M) ticket, was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Tripura East constituency.
Tight security in Chhattisgarh
Amid tight security, voting began in the insurgency-hit Antagarh assembly constituency for the bypoll where only two candidates, including one from the ruling BJP, are in the fray in the tribal-dominated seat.
“The polling has begun in Antagarh seat from 7 am,” an election official said.
As many as 1,51,894 electorates would exercise their franchise at 202 polling stations, including 190 hyper sensitive and three auxiliary booths, till 3 pm, he said.
Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed in the region to ensure fair and peaceful polling, he added.
It is for the first time since its formation, that Chhattisgarh will not witness any contest between the BJP and the Congress in the assembly poll as the main opposition’s candidate surprisingly withdrew from the contest at the last moment.
Election for the seat was necessitated after BJP MLA Vikram Usendi resigned after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Kanker seat.
After the declaration of the bypoll schedule, Congress, which had been struggling after a humiliating defeat in both the Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections, had declared Manturam Pawar as its candidate from the seat, anticipating a good show.
However, Pawar surprisingly pulled out from the contest a day before the last day of withdrawal of nominations on August 29, after which he was expelled from the Congress.
Fourteen candidates had filed their nominations for the Antagarh bypoll and after scrutiny as well as withdrawal of nominations, only two candidates namely Bhojraj Naag of the BJP and Rupdhar Pudo of the Ambedkarite Party of India are now in the fray.