Four Lok Sabha seats, including the politically-crucial Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, and 10 assembly constituencies spread across 10 states went to by-polls on Monday. Besides Kairana in western UP, by-elections were held in Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra, and Nagaland Lok Sabha seat.
Kairana seat fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, whose daughter Mriganka Singh is now the party’s candidate for the bypoll. She is fighting Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Tabassum Hasan, who is supported by the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The Kairana bypoll is keenly observed with an eye on opposition unity, which had surprised the BJP by winning Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-elections last month
Meanwhile in Maharashtra, all four major parties — the Congress, BJP , Shiv Sena and the NCP — had pulled out all stops for the Lok Sabha bypolls as the outcome is likely to have a bearing on their future course.
The Shiv Sena has fielded late BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga’s son Shriniwas Wanaga in Palghar, much to the dislike of the BJP which has in-turn nominated Congress deserter Rajendra Gavit. The bypoll in Palghar was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga in January this year.
In Bhandra-Gondia, Nana Patole quit as the BJP MP and resigned from the ruling party to return to the Congress earlier this year, necessitating the by-election.
The BJP is confident of retaining the two seats while the opposition feels setbacks to the ruling party in the bypolls would boost the vigour of the ‘anti-BJP camp’ and lead to new alignments in state politics.
The BJP is in fight with the NCP for retaining the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha seat while in Palghar, it is in a direct fight with the ally Shiv Sena even though the contest is multi-cornered.
In Nagaland, voting is held for the bypoll to lone Lok Sabha seat. The contest is between the ruling Peoples Democratic Alliance (PDA) candidate Tokheho Yepthomi and opposition NPF nominee C Apok Jamir.
The Lok Sabha bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Neiphiu Rio from the Lok Sabha to contest the Nagaland Assembly election in February. Rio is presently the chief minister of the state.
The assembly bypolls will take place in Maharashtra (Palus Kadegaon constituency), Uttar Pradesh (Noorpur), Bihar (Jokihat), Jharkhand (Gomia and Silli), Kerala (Chengannur), Meghalaya (Ampati), Punjab (Shahkot), Uttarakhand (Tharali) and West Bengal (Maheshtala).
The counting of votes will take place on May 31.
(With inputs from PTI)