Bypolls to Assembly and Lok Sabha seats were held in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Andhra Pradesh
Bypolls were held in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.
In Gujarat, the Morva Hadaf Assembly constituency recorded a polling percentage of 39.56 percent till the end of the polling, according to provisional data available on the Election Commission’s app.
The Madhupur Assembly constituency in Jharkhand recorded a polling percentage of 76.61 percent, while in Karnataka, the Basavakalyan and Maski constituencies recorded 59.57 percent and 70.48 percent turnout respectively.
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The Belgaum Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka also went to polls on Saturday, with the voter turnout at 54.62 percent. Additionally, the bypoll to the Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh saw a voter turnout of 61.07 percent.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Damoh Assembly constituency recorded polling worth 59.81 percent, and in Maharashtra’s Solapur constituency, the voter turnout was 66.15 percent.
Mizoram’s Serchhip Assembly constituency saw a voter turnout of 83.80 percent till 9 pm. The Rajsamand, Sahara, Sujangarh Assembly constituencies recorded a voter turnout of 67.18 percent, 56.56 percent, 53.22 percent respectively.
In Telangana, the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency recorded 86.20 percent voting. Finally, in Uttarakhand’s Salt constituency, the polling percentage was 40.51 percent.
Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who had campaigned for the JD(S) candidate in the Basavakalyan constituency, on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19 .
A total of 2.19 lakh voters were registered to exercise their franchise in the bypoll to the Morva Hadaf (ST) Assembly seat of Gujarat’s Panchmahal district. Voting was held in 329 polling booths of the constituency.
To maintain social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of voters per booth was capped at 1,000.
The bypoll to Morva Hadaf was necessitated after Independent MLA Bhupendrasinh Khant was disqualified in May, 2019 for submitting an invalid caste certificate.
He lost an appeal in the Gujarat High Court on the issue. Khant died due to health issues in January this year.
The ruling BJP has fielded former MLA Nimisha Suthar, who represented this seat from 2013 to 2017, as its candidate. Suthar is fighting the election against the Congress’ Suresh Katara. Another candidate, Sushilaben Maida, is contesting as an independent.
Polling began in the Belgaum Lok Sabha seat and in the Basavakalyan and Maski Assembly segments in Karnataka with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, PTI reported.
A total of 22,68,038 voters (including service voters) were eligible to cast their votes at 3,197 polling stations in the three constituencies.
A total of 30 candidates in the fray from all the three constituencies.
While Belgaum has ten candidates, Basavakalyan and Maski have 12 and eight respectively. Twenty-six out of the total 30 candidates are men.
Bypolls to Belgaum Lok Sabha and Basavakalyan Assembly seats are necessitated following the death of Union Minister Suresh Angadi and MLA B Narayan Rao respectively due to COVID-19 in September last year.
The Maski Assembly seat fell vacant following the disqualification of MLA Prathapagouda Patil, who had won in 2018 from Congress and is now with the BJP.
The ruling BJP and Opposition Congress are battling it out in all three constituencies, while JD(S) has limited itself to Basavakalyan and has not fielded any candidates in Maski and Belgaum.
The ruling BJP has fielded Mangala Suresh Angadi, the wife of the late Union minister, from Belgaum Lok Sabha seat.
Pratapagouda Patil, who quit Congress and joined the BJP is the saffron party’s candidate in the Maski Assembly segment. Youth leader Sharanu Salagar has been fielded by the BJP in Basavakalyan.
The Congress has fielded its state working president Satish Jarkiholi, who is currently the MLA of Yamkanmaradi Assembly segment, as its candidate from Belgaum.
Mallamma, the wife of late legislator B Narayan Rao is the grand old party’s candidate from Basavakalyan seat, while Basanagouda Turvihal, who recently joined the party, has been fielded in Maski segment.
JD(S) has named Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri, who was with the Congress earlier as its candidate from Basavakalyan.
The ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress are locked in a straight contest in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh Assembly constituency.
Polling, which began at 7 am, went peacefully amid strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines.
People were seen standing in queues outside the polling booths, waiting for their turn to cast vote. White circles were drawn on the ground to ensure that the voters maintain social distancing.
A total of 22 candidates are in the fray, but the main contest lies between Rahul Lodhi of the BJP and Ajay Tandon of the Congress.
The bypoll was necessitated as Lodhi, who had won from Damoh on a Congress ticket in 2018, resigned from the Assembly as well as the party in October 2020 and joined the BJP.
He had resigned just ahead of the 3 November by-elections to over two dozen seats in the state.
The state had witnessed bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in November last year. As many as 25 of these seats fell vacant after their sitting ex-Congress MLAs switched sides and joined the BJP after a revolt led by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Tandon had earlier contested from the seat twice unsuccessfully against senior BJP leader and former minister Jayant Mallaiya. But now, Lodhi has replaced Mallaiya as the BJP candidate from the seat.
A total of 2,39,709 voters, including 1,15,408 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise at 359 polling booths.
In the Tirupati (SC) Lok Sabha bypoll in Andhra Pradesh, Opposition parties alleged large-scale casting of bogus votes and sought cancellation of the election.
The Election Commission heard rival claims on the bogus voting but did not spell out its stand. Earlier, state chief electoral officer K Vijayanand had issued a statement saying that he had asked the Collectors of SPS Nellore and Chittoor districts, in which the Tirupati Lok Sabha segment lies, to crack down on bogus voters and ensure a fair poll.
State Director General of Police DG Sawang, however, claimed that the polling process continued in a peaceful atmosphere and everybody exercised their franchise fearlessly.
The Opposition parties slammed the DGP over that statement and said it only reflected his loyalty towards Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Polling began on a sedate note at 7 am on Saturday and in the first two hours only 7.8 percent votes were cast.
It rose to 17.39 percent in the next two hours and went up to 54.99 percent by 5 pm and went up to about 60 to 64 percent towards close of polling, State Election Commission sources said.
The final voter turnout percentage is expected to be out later.
The Opposition parties — Telugu Desam, BJP, Jana Sena and the Congress — demanded that the bypoll be cancelled forthwith, alleging that the ruling YSR Congress instigated bogus voting on a large scale, particularly in the temple town Tirupati.
The contesting candidates of TDP and BJP, Panabaka Lakshmi and K Ratna Prabha, apprehended some bogus voters, carrying fake Voter ID cards in some polling booths in Tirupati and handed them over to the police, PTI reported.
Former Tirupati MLA, Sugunamma, led a protest near the Tirupati Urban Police Superintendents office after a bus, allegedly carrying several fake voters from other mandals, was intercepted and several fake ID cards seized, the report added.
Congress candidate Chinta Mohan too alleged that the YSRC brought in thousands of people from other places to cast bogus votes in Tirupati.
State Panchayat Raj Minister PRC Reddy, who camped in Tirupati, rubbished the opposition allegations and maintained that the YSRC need not resort to such tactics as its victory in the by-election was a certainty.
He claimed that those stopped in buses were actually “pilgrims and tourists” who came to visit the Venkateswara Swamy temple.
He, however, did not clarify why these people carried voter ID cards in bulk, the PTI report noted.
Talking to reporters, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu lashed out at the ruling party as it made a mockery of democracy. “Why do we need such elections? Bogus voters were brought in to Tirupati in hordes. How did the police allow them,?” he asked.
The former chief minister also wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer, seeking immediate action to prevent “influx of outsiders” into Tirupati and bogus voting.
He sent another letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, demanding that a fresh poll be ordered in Tirupati in view of the “gross violations” committed by the YSR Congress.
A delegation of YSRC leaders, led by MP N Suresh, met the CEO in the Secretariat and sought action against the TDP leaders for disturbing a peaceful election process.
A by-election to the Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly constituency in Maharashtra’ Solapur was also held on Saturday.
The polling began at 7 am on Saturday amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state and the strict restrictions imposed by the state government to control the spread of the virus.
Hand sanitisers were kept outside the polling centres and voters are allowed inside only after their body temperature and oxygen level is checked.
The ruling NCP and the Opposition BJP are in a direct fight in this bypoll, which was necessitated following the death of NCP legislator Bharat Bhalke due to post- COVID-19 complications in November last year.
The NCP fielded Bhagirath Bhalke, the late MLA’s son, against BJP candidate Samadhan Autade, who had contested the 2019 Assembly elections as an Independent and the 2014 polls on Shiv Sena ticket.
“Adequate police bandobast has been put in place to ensure that all social distancing norms are followed,” said additional superintendent of police Atul Zende.
According to the district administration, several voters above the age of 80, physically challenged persons and people engaged in essential services had exercised their franchise through postal ballots.
There are a total of 3,40,889 registered voters in the constituency.
Political observers feel that this bypoll will prove to be a litmus test for the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies — Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress — that have been sharing power in the state for the last one-and-a-half years.
Polling in the Serchhip Assembly constituency initially got off to a slow start but picked up around 11 am.
A total of 19,520 voters, including 10,329 women, were eligible to decide the fate of six candidates, including those of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), ZPM and the Congress.
Polling was held in 29 polling stations.
The by-election has been necessitated after the disqualification of incumbent MLA Lalduhoma, in November 2020 under the anti-defection law.
Lalduhoma is now contesting on a ZPM ticket. Six candidates are in the fray for the by-election.
The MNF has fielded its vice president and former Lok Sabha member Vanlalzawma, while the Congress has nominated former student leader and party general secretary PC Laltlansanga.
Three Assembly constituencies — Sahara, Rajsamand and Sujangarh — went to polls in Rajasthan on Saturday.
The bye-elections will decide the fate of 27 candidates in the three constituencies, where the number of voters is 7,43,802.
The bypolls are being held after the demise of sitting MLAs Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal (Sujangarh), Kailash Trivedi (Sahara) and Kiran Maheshwari (Rajsamand).
As many as 4,000 police personnel, including Central forces, were deployed for the Nagarjuna Sagar bypoll, PTI reported.
AV Ranganath, Superintendent of Police, Nalgonda, said of the total 346 polling stations, police identified 108 as ‘critical’.
The bypoll for the constituency was necessitated due to the death of sitting TRS legislator Nomula Narsimhaiah, who passed away in December 2020.
The ruling TRS nominated Narsimhaiah’s son, Nomula Bhagat, while the BJP has put up P Ravi Kumar as its candidate for the bypoll.
The Congress has fielded senior leader K Jana Reddy, who had served as Leader of Opposition in the previous Legislative Assembly.
Reddy lost from the same constituency in the 2018 Assembly polls.
The Nagarjuna Sagar bypoll result will be an acid test for the ruling TRS, resurgent BJP and Congress — a win or defeat may script the strategy to be adopted by them for the Assembly polls in 2023.
Though candidates from other parties and Independents are in the fray for the Assembly segment, the contest is mainly between the three parties.
The Salt Assembly seat in Uttarakhand’s Almora saw peaceful polling on Saturday, with one minor incident in which a voter complained of another person disturbing the election process in the Majhor sector, SSP Pankaj Bhatt said.
Sufficient police personnel were deployed at all 151 polling booths and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere, he said.
The bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MLA Surendra Singh Jeena due to COVID-19 in November last year.
His elder brother Mahesh Jeena is locked in a straight fight with Congress candidate Ganga Pancholi, who had lost the seat narrowly in 2017.
There are four others in the fray, including two independents
With inputs from PTI