The stage is set for counting of votes for by-elections to four Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly constituencies. The Lok Sabha constituencies where counting would be conducted on Thursday are Kairana (Uttar Pradesh), Bhandara-Gondia and Palghar (Maharashtra) and Nagaland parliamentary constituency, and the 10 assembly seats 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 counting of votes is slated to begin at 8 am.
The bypolls have been a litmus test for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the opposition parties, including the Congress. A positive outcome is necessary for the BJP to maintain its majority in the Lok Sabha.
Following the party’s defeat in from Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP had profusely campaigned for Kairana seat in Uttar Pradesh. In Maharashtra’s Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia seats, all four major parties - BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress - left no stone unturned to woo the electorates in their favour.
Elections were necessitated in Kairana after the seat fell vacant in February following the death of BJP leader Hukum Singh. The BJP has fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of Singh, from the seat. In Maharashtra, Palghar is a reserved seat, which was previously held by the BJP. The seat fell vacant after sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanga died in January. Chintaman Wanga had been elected from the constituency thrice as a BJP member. However, after his death, his family joined hands with the Shiv Sena.
In Bhandara-Gondia the bye-election was necessitated when BJP’s sitting MP Nana Patole quit the party to join the Congress in December 2017.
In Nagaland, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party was the representative of the lone Lok Sabha constituency in Nagaland. He quit in February to contest in the Assembly elections.
The by-elections for Assembly seats were held in Legislative Assemblies of Shahkot (Punjab), Tharali (Uttarakhand), Ampati (Meghalaya), Chengannur (Kerala), Jokihat (Bihar), Gomia (Jharkhand), Silli (Jharkhand), Maheshtala (West Bengal), Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh), Palus Kadegaon (Maharashtra).
The by-poll in Gomia Assembly was necessitated after the sitting MLA Yogendra Prasad Mahto of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) was expelled from the assembly after he was convicted in a coal theft case. In Jharkhand’s Silli, sitting MLA Amit Mahto of the JMM was convicted in a criminal assault case in March following which the seat fell vacant.
The seat of Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh fell vacant after the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chouhan. He was a two-time MLA from the seat.
The Maheshtala seat in West Bengal, which was held by the Trinamool Congress (TMC), fell vacant as MLA Kasturi Das died in February. He too had represented the constituency twice.
In Meghalaya, former chief minister and Congress MLA Mukul Sangma resigned from Ampati seat in March, as he had also won from Songsak. Sangma was the MLA from this seat since 1993.
Tharali seat in Uttarakhand is reserved for the member of scheduled castes. The by-poll was necessitated after the death of the BJP MLA Magan Lal Shah in February.
Chengannur seat in Kerala also went for bypoll as it fell vacant after the death of Communist Party of India (Marxist) sitting MLA KK Ramachandran Nair in January.
In Bihar, the bypoll was conducted in Jokihat Assembly seat as sitting Janata Dal United MLA Sarfaraz Alam quit the same in April after winning the Araria Lok Sabha seat on an RJD ticket.
Shahkot seat in Punjab also fell vacant as Shiromani Akali Dal sitting MLA Ajit Singh Kohar died in February. This necessitated by-poll in the assembly seat. Kohar had won from the constituency in 2012 and 2017.
The by-poll in Palus-Kadegaon Assembly constituency was necessitated due to the death of Congress’s Patangrao Kadam, who had won the constituency twice. The Election Commission has declared Kadam`s son elected unopposed as the BJP had withdrawn its candidate. These bye-elections were also marred with the complaints of EVM malfunctioning and in the view of which the election commission had to replace the faulty machines at certain places after which repolling was held on several booths on Wednesday.
(With ANI inputs)