On May 28, bypolls for 4 Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly constituencies were held in nine states across the country. With the elections coinciding with two significant junctures – fourth anniversary of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government and the aftermath of the Karnataka assembly elections concluded recently, the elections have gained significance as the outcome is likely to have a bearing on the future course of the political parties. These elections have again raised a question on the role of the Election Commission (EC), as incidents of EVMs and VVPATs malfunctioning were reported from three states – Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The opposition party leaders have lodged complaints with the EC, alleging the tampering of the voting machines.
The four Lok sabha constituencies where the bypolls were held are: Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar constituencies of Maharashtra and Nagaland parliamentary constituency, while the 10 assembly constituencies are Palus Kadegaon (Maharashtra), Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh), Jokihat (Bihar), Gomia and Silli (Jharkhand), Chengannur (Kerala), Ampati (Meghalaya), Shahkot (Punjab), Tharali (Uttarakhand) and Maheshtala (West Bengal). The results will be declared on May 31.
For the two seats previously held by the BJP, the battle was mainly between the ruling party BJP and the united opposition of SP, BSP, RLD and Congress. With the main opposition parties coming together again after winning Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies byelections (both the seats had been vacated by the BJP’s top ranks — Gorakhpur by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Phulpur by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya) in March this year, another such victory would further strengthen their bond, as the 2019 general elections are approaching.
In this two-sided battle, for the Kairana Member of Parliament (MP) seat, the BJP has fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of late MP Hukum Singh, against the RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan. For the Noorpur MLA seat, the BJP candidate Avani Singh is pitted against SP’s Naim-ul-Hasan.
The two estranged allies – BJP and Shiv Sena, despite being in alliance both in the state and at the Centre, have fielded their candidates in Palghar parliamentary constituency, putting forward their differences in the public domain. In Palghar, it is a multi-cornered contest mainly among BJP’s Rajendra Gavit, Shiv Sena’s Shriniwas Wanaga, Congress’s Damodar Singhda, BVA’s Baliram Jadhav and CPI (M)’s Kiran Gahala. In the Bhandara-Gondia constituency, the main fight is between Madhukar Kukde of the NCP (supported by Congress) and BJP’s Hemant Patle.
For Palus Kadegaon assembly seat, Congress nominee Vishwajeet Kadam is expected to win as the main rival BJP’s candidate withdrew his nomination, while the Shiv Sena extended their support to Kadam.
The by-election to the Nagaland’s sole Lok Sabha constituency is considered as a direct contest between the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tokheho Yepthomi and Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate C Apok Jamir. The elections were necessitated as the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio vacated the seat in March this year.
Shahkot – Punjab
The Shahkot bypoll was necessitated following the death of Akali Dal MLA Ajit Singh Kohar in February this year. Although 12 candidates are in the fray, the main contest is considered to be among three candidates: the ruling Congress’ Hardev Singh Laddi, Akali Dal’s Naib Singh Kohar and the AAP’s Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan.
Chengannur – Kerala
The Chengannur bypoll was necessitated following the death of the sitting CPI(M) MLA KK Ramachandran Nair in January this year. The mainstream candidates in the fray are CPI(M)’s Alappuzha district secretary Saji Cherian, Congress’ D Vijayakumar, and BJP’s PS Sreedharan Pillai.
Bypolls for two assembly constituencies – Gomia in Bokaro District and Silli in Ranchi district were held amid tight security today. The elections were neccesiated after the disqualification of JJM’s MLA Yogendra Mahto in Gomia and JMM’s MLA Amit Mahto.
In Gomia assembly seat, though there are 13 candidates in total, the main contest is between BJP’s Madhavlal Singh, AJSU’s Lambodar Mahto and JMM’s Babita Devi.
In Silli, the main contest will be between the AJSU president Sudesh Mahto and JMM’s Seema Mahto.
Jokihat – Bihar
The byelection was necessitated because Sarfaraz Alam, the sitting JD(U) MLA, quit his party after JD(U) allied with the BJP and joined the RJD. For this by-election, the RJD has fielded Shahnawaz Alam against JD(U)’s Murshid Alam.
Ampati – Meghalaya
Election for the constituency was necessitated after former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma vacated the seat. The contest is mainly between Congress candidate Miani D Shira (Sangma’s daughter) with NPP’s Clement G Momin and Independent candidate Subhankar Koch. As both NPP and Congress have 20 members each in the 60-member assembly, the outcome will determine the single largest party in the state.
Tharali – Uttarakhand
Of the five candidates in the fray, the contenders are BJP’s Munni Devi, Congress’ Jeetram Shah, UKD’s Kashbi Lal Shah, CPI’s Kunwar Ram and an Independent candidate Beeri Ram.
Maheshtala – West Bengal
The Maheshtala Assembly seat of South 24 Parganas district became vacant after the death of TMC’s MLA Kasturi Das in February this year. TMC’s candidate Dulal Das, BJP’s Sujit Kumar Ghosh and the CPI(M) candidate Prabhat Chowdhury (supported by Congress) are in the fray.