In the death of Girish Bapat, Pune BJP lost the third sitting lawmaker in the city. His death necessitates another by-poll in Pune. However, the question is whether the by-poll will be held as the general elections are due in 2024.
The tenure of Lok Sabha is scheduled to end on 16 June 2024. It means that the remainder of the term of the seat which fell vacant due to Bapat's death is more than a year.
What does the law say?
Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates the Election Commission to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bye-elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more.
The term of the 17th Lok Sabha is up to 16 June 2024. As the vacancy from Pune has occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of the House, bye elections are required to be held under Section 151A of R. P. Act 1951 to fill this vacancy within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancy that is March 29.
Who will get the ticket?
Names of Bapat's daughter-in-law Swarada Kelkar Bapat, former mayor Murlidhar Mohol, and former MPs Sanjay Kakade, and Anil Shirole are said to be in the race from Pune BJP.
However, if Swarada Kelkar Bapat gets the ticket, there is a possibility that she will get elected unopposed.
Two by-polls were held in Pune for vacant assembly seats
Before Bapat (72), two sitting BJP MLAs -- Mukta Tilak (Kasba Peth constituency) and Laxman Jagtap (Chinchwad) -- both in Pune district -- died on December 22, 2022, and January 3, 2023, respectively.
In the Assembly by-polls that followed, the BJP managed to retain Chinchwad, where late MLA Jagtap's wife Ashwini defeated the NCP, but it faced a rout in the Kasba Peth constituency, where its candidate Hemant Rasane lost to Congress-MVA nominee Ravindra Dhangekar.
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