A turnout of 50 percent to over 75 percent was recorded on Saturday in bypolls to three Lok Sabha and 29 assembly seats spread across 13 states, with INLD leader Abhay Chautala, who quit the Haryana assembly in protest against the agri laws, and Congress' Pratibha Singh, wife of late chief minister Virbhadra Singh, among the prominent candidates in the fray.
The polling passed off peacefully and it was ensured that all COVID-19 safety measures were followed, officials said. The Dadra and Nagar Haveli Lok Sabha constituency recorded 75.51 percent turnout as the voting concluded at 7 PM, Election Commission officials said.
The by-election in the constituency, which is part of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, was necessitated due to the death of seven-time independent MP Mohan Delkar whose wife Kalaben Delkar is contesting as Shiv Sena candidate against BJP's Mahesh Gavit and Congress' Mahesh Dhodi.
In Himachal Pradesh, the Mandi Lok Sabha seat from where Pratibha Singh is contesting saw a relatively lower turnout of 49.83 percent till 5 PM. She was pitted against BJP's Khushal Singh Thakur, a Kargil war hero who is trying his luck at the hustings for the first time.
The Mandi seat fell vacant after the death of Ramswaroop Sharma (BJP) in March. The first voter of independent India, 104-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, cast his vote at the model polling station of Kalpa in Kinnaur district
The polling percentage in the three assembly seats - Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai - was 62.4 percent, 61.33 per cent and 66.1 percent respectively till 5 PM. The byelections in Himachal Pradesh are crucial as assembly polls are due in the state early next year.
Besides the three assembly seats in HP, bypolls were held in five assembly seats in Assam, four in West Bengal, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya, two each in Bihar, Karnataka and Rajasthan and one seat each in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram and Telangana.
Out of these, the BJP was holding around half a dozen seats, the Congress had nine, while the rest were with the regional parties. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.
Over 73 percent voter turnout was recorded till 5 PM in the bypolls to the Ellenabad Assembly constituency in Haryana, necessitated by the resignation of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Singh Chautala as MLA in protest against the Centre's new farm laws.
Chautala, son of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, is contesting against Congress nominee Pawan Beniwal and BJP-JP candidate Gobind Kanda, the brother of Haryana Lokhit Party chief and legislator Gopal Kanda.
It is an important contest for the Chautalas as Abhay had won the 2010 bypolls from Ellenabad, when Om Prakash Chautala vacated the seat, and then retained it in 2014 and also in 2019 Assembly polls, when he was the lone INLD MLA in the House.
Khandwa Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh, whose MP Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan of the BJP had died, witnessed a turnout of 63.88 per cent, while an estimated 64.60 per cent voting was recorded in the three Assembly seats.
In Assam, 69.60 percent was reported in five assembly constituencies of Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Mariani and Thowra seats till 5 PM. The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in three seats leaving the other two to alliance partner UPPL. The Congress put up nominees in all five, while its former allies, the AIUDF and the BPF, are contesting in two and one seats respectively.
A high voter turnout of nearly 71 percent was recorded till 5 PM in West Bengal's four assembly constituencies. The BJP and TMC held two seats each. Barring a few stray incidents, polling, which began at 7 AM, passed off peacefully in all four constituencies, an Election Commission official said.
Scuffles between TMC and BJP supporters were reported outside a booth in Khardah and security personnel used batons to disperse the crowd. Kajal Sinha's death due to COVID-19 necessitated the bypoll in Khardah. According to TMC members, Sinha's son Arjodeep was injured in the melee and had to be hospitalised.
In Dinhata, TMC heavyweight Udayan Guha is looking to reclaim the seat, which the BJP had snatched from him in the April elections. The by-election was necessitated following the resignation of Nisith Pramanik, now Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, as he chose to retain his Lok Sabha membership.
In Santipur, BJP MP Jagannath Sarkar resigned from the assembly, thus calling for a bypolls. Bypolls to Dinhata and Santipur are seen as a prestige battle for the BJP, which is currently grappling with an exodus of MLAs and senior leaders. In Bihar, an estimated 49.60 percent voting was recorded in the two assembly constituencies of Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur which were held by the JD(U).
An average of 65 percent voter turnout was recorded in the bypolls to Dhariawad and Vallabhnagar assembly constituencies of Rajasthan till 5 PM. The bypolls were necessitated due to the demise of Congress MLA from Vallabhnagar Gajendra Singh Shaktawat and BJP legislator from Dhariawad Gautam Lal Meena.
In Vallabhnagar, the ruling Congress party has given a ticket to Gajendra Shaktawat's wife, Preeti Shaktawat, while the BJP has fielded Himmat Singh Jhala. The Congress has fielded Nagraj Meena in Dhariawad against BJP candidate Khet Singh Meena.
Though the number of constituencies going to bypolls is not crucial from the viewpoint of the government's stability, the results will send a message across the state about the performance of the Congress-led government, which had faced a major threat last year due to rebellion of the then deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs led by him.
An estimated 56.78 percent voter turnout was recorded in the bypolls to Sindgi and Hangal assembly constituencies in Karnataka. The by-elections have been necessitated following the death of Sindgi JD(S) legislator M C Managuli and BJP's C M Udasi from Hangal and will be the first electoral test for Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who had replaced B S Yediyurappa.
While Ramesh Bhusanur, who came second behind Managuli in the 2018 polls, is the BJP candidate from Sindgi, Shivaraj Sajjanar is its candidate from Hangal constituency.
The Congress has named M C Managuli's son Ashok Managuli, who has joined the party, as its candidate from Sindgi, while former MLC Srinivas Mane is its candidate from Hangal.
The JD(S), which was the first to announce its candidates, has fielded 33-year-old Naziya Shakeel Ahmed Angadi from Sindgi and 35-year-old B.E, M.Tech graduate Niyaz Shaikh from Hangal.
In Telangana, byelection was held in the Huzurabad assembly constituency with the ruling TRS, opposition BJP and Congress locked in a triangular contest.
The by-election has been necessitated in view of the resignation of Eatala Rajender in June following his removal from the state Cabinet over allegations of land grabbing. Rajender, who dismissed the allegations, had quit the TRS and is contesting on a BJP ticket.
The byelection is seen as a do-or-die battle for Rajender, while it is significant for the BJP as it aims at emerging as the alternative to ruling TRS in the 2023 Legislative Assembly elections.
Though byelection was also announced for the Shamator-Chessore assembly constituency in Nagaland, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party candidate S Keoshu Yimchunger was declared elected uncontested on October 13.
Bypolls were also be held in Andhra Pradesh's Badvel seat, earlier held by YSRC . Meghalaya's Rajabala, Mawryngkneng and Mawphlang seats recorded a voting percentage of over 64 percent.
Former national footballer Eugeneson Lyngdoh is contesting the election from Mawphlang on a United Democratic Party (UDP) ticket. He is up against former Congress MLA Kennedy C Khyriem and a sitting member of the district council (MDC) from the NPP, Lamphrang Blah.
By-election was held in Deglur in Maharashtra, earlier held by the Congress, and Tuirial assembly seat in Mizoram.
ALSO READRajasthan by-polls: Nearly 65 percent voter turnout in Vallabh Nagar and Dhariyawad assembly seats
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