Voter turnout for by-elections to three Lok Sabha seats and 29 assembly seats in 13 states of the country ranged from 50 per cent to 75 per cent on Saturday. In this, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala, late Congress leader Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh and other prominent leaders are in the fray. Voting was necessitated after Chautala had quit the Haryana Legislative Assembly while protesting against the Centre’s three new controversial agriculture laws.
Election Commission officials said that the voting took place peacefully and all safety measures related to Covid-19 were followed. 75.51 percent polling was recorded in the by-elections to Dadra and Nagar Haveli Lok Sabha seat, where voting went on till 7 pm.
The election was necessitated following the death of seven-time Independent MP Mohan Delkar, from where his wife Kalaben Delkar is pitted against BJP’s Mahesh Gavit and Congress’s Mahesh Dhodi as Shiv Sena candidate.
A relatively low 49.83 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm in Mandi Lok Sabha seat of Himachal Pradesh. Pratibha Singh is the Congress candidate from here. Khushal Singh Thakur, a Kargil war warrior against him, is trying his luck for the first time on a BJP ticket.
The seat fell vacant after the death of Ramswaroop Sharma.
The Mandi seat fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Ramswaroop Sharma in March. Shyam Sharan Negi, 104, the first voter of independent India, casts his vote at the Adarsh polling booth at Kalpa in Kinnaur district.
Voting began at 8 am in Mandi Lok Sabha seat and Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seats and gradually gained momentum.
The election officer said that till 5 pm, 49.83 per cent polling was recorded in Mandi while 62.4 per cent, 61.33 per cent and 66.1 per cent polling was recorded for Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seats respectively.
The bypolls in Himachal Pradesh are significant as assembly elections are due in the state early next year.
Apart from three assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh, five assembly seats in Assam, four in West Bengal, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya, two each in Bihar, Karnataka and Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram. And the voting for the by-elections for one seat in Telangana was over. Of these, there have been BJP MLAs on about half a dozen seats, Congress on nine and regional parties on the rest. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.
Abhay Chautala also in the field
More than 73 percent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm in the by-elections in Haryana’s Ellenabad Assembly Constituency. Congress’s Pawan Beniwal and BJP-JJP’s Gobind Kanda are the candidates against Abhay Chautala, son of INLD leader Omprakash Chautala. Four-time MLA Chautala is eyeing a hat-trick of victory as he is contesting his third bypoll.
Earlier, he had won the Rori assembly by-election in Sirsa district in 2000 and Ellenabad in 2010, when his father retained the Uchana seat in Jind district and vacated the seat.
Winning the bypoll is crucial for Abhay Chautala as the defeat will be a major setback for the INLD, which has been battling electoral setbacks in recent years.
Polling for Khandwa Lok Sabha seat
In Madhya Pradesh, 63.88 percent voting was recorded in Khandwa Lok Sabha constituency under the by-election on Saturday, while 64.60 percent votes were cast in three assembly seats of the state.
According to the information given from the election office late in the evening, 53.30 percent voting was recorded in Jobat, 78.14 in Prithvipur and 69.01 percent in Raigaon assembly seats. Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, BJP MP from Khandwa had passed away.
A total of 69.60 per cent of the 7.96 lakh voters registered for the by-elections to the five seats in the Assam Assembly on Saturday exercised their franchise till the end of polling at 5 pm. An official gave this information.
He said that peaceful polling was held in Gosaingaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani and Thora seats on Saturday amid tight security and strictly following the COVID-19 norms.
Voting for four assembly seats in Bengal
Around 71 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm for the by-elections to four assembly seats in West Bengal. An Election Commission official said the polling began at 7 am and ended peacefully in all the four seats barring a few sporadic incidents.
A scuffle was reported between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters outside a booth in Khardah, where BJP candidate Joy Saha caught a ‘fake voter’ and handed him over to the police. Khardah MLA Kajal Sinha passed away due to Covid-19.
Trinamool Congress candidate in Dinhata constituency of Cooch Behar district, Udayan Guha accused Union Minister of State for Home Nisith Pramanik of entering booth number 232 with armed guards. The by-election was held here only after Pramanik’s resignation.
Pramanik, now the Union Minister of State for Home, preferred to retain his Lok Sabha membership rather than sit in the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.
Voting for two seats of Bihar Assembly
Around 49.60 per cent of the total registered 5,84,395 voters exercised their franchise till the voting process ended at 4 pm on Saturday for the two seats in the Bihar Assembly. According to the data released by the Election Commission, 49 percent polling was recorded in Kusheshwar place while 50.05 percent in Tarapur.
About 65.17 per cent voters cast their votes till 5.25 pm in the by-elections to the Vallabhnagar (Udaipur) and Dhariawad (Pratapgarh) assembly seats in Rajasthan on Saturday.
The by-elections are being held due to the death of BJP MLA Gautam Lal Meena in Dhariyavad constituency and Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, Congress MLA in Vallabhnagar constituency. Both these leaders died due to corona virus infection.
Around 56.78 per cent polling was recorded for the by-elections to Sindgi and Hangal assembly seats in Karnataka.
The by-polls to these seats were necessitated after the death of Janata Dal (Secular) MLA MC Managuli from Sindgi and CM Udasi of the Bharatiya Janata Party from Hangal.
BJP has fielded Ramesh Bhusanur from Sindgi and Shivraj Sajjanar from Hangal. Bhusanur had finished second in the 2018 elections.
Congress has fielded MC Managuli’s son Ashok Managuli from Sindgi while former councilor Srinivas Mane from Hangal. JD(S) has fielded 33-year-old post graduate pass Nazia Shakeel Ahmed Angadi from Sindgi, while 35-year-old BE, M.Tech Niyaz Shekhar from Hangal.
This is the first election challenge for him after taking over as Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Winning the Hangal seat is more important for him as it is the neighboring constituency of his Shiggaon assembly constituency.
Bypolls were held for the Huzurabad assembly seat in Telangana where there is a triangular contest between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the opposition BJP and the Congress.
The bypoll was necessitated in the wake of A Rajendra’s resignation in June after he was dropped from the state cabinet over land grabbing charges. Rajendra, who dismissed the allegations, had quit the TRS and is contesting on a BJP ticket.
Polling for by-elections to three assembly seats in Meghalaya was peaceful on Saturday with over 64 per cent voters exercising their franchise.
Former national football player Eugenesson Lyngdoh is contesting on a United Democratic Party (UDP) ticket from the state’s Mawphlang seat. Kennedy C. Khairyam, a former Congress MLA, is considered his main rival. By-elections were also held for Deglur in Maharashtra and Tuiriyal assembly seats in Mizoram.