Lucknow: The Election Commission on Thursday announced dates for holding by-elections for the Lok Sabha parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra, Nagaland, Utar Pradesh and the state legislative assemblies of Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
According to the Election Commission, the polling for the by-elections will be held on May 28 and the results will be declared on May 31.
In Maharashtra, the bypolls will be held for Bhandara-Godia and Palghar Lok Sabha constituencies on May 28. In view of Congress MLA Patangrao Kadam's demise, bypolls will also be held in Palus-Kadegaon assembly constituency in Maharashtra.
Similarly, by-election for Ampati, the assembly constituency of former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, will be held on May 28.
Sangma, now Leader of Opposition in the Meghalaya Assembly, had won from two seats - Ampati and Songsak - in the February 27 assembly election.
The senior Congress leader retained the Songsak seat in East Garo Hills district and vacated Ampati, from where he had been elected for six consecutive times.
In the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, the by-election to the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the death of party MP Hukum Singh last February, will be held on May 28 and the counting of votes will be done on May 31.
The bypoll to the Noorpur Legislative Assembly seat will also be held on the same dates. It had fallen vacant in February when sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh died in a car accident.
The poll panel announced the dates after Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwar Lu visited Saharanpur and Shamli district to review the poll preparations.
Kairana parliamentary constituency comprises five assembly segments - three in Shamli and two in Saharanpur district.
Since the Jats and the Gujjars are the two most dominating community of voters in Kairana, te ruling BJP is confident that the voters from the two blocs will stick with the party out of sympathy for deceased MP Hukum Singh - a Gujjar.
After suffering huge reverses in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, BJP leaders don’t want to leave any stone unturned this time.
Communal tensions in Kairana have been high ever since 2016 after Hukum Singh alleged that 250 Hindu families had fled Kairana in a “mass exodus” over the last few years due to “pressure from another community”.
Singh even claimed that Kairana was fast becoming “another Kashmir” with Hindu families fleeing.
While the BJP bigwigs endorsed his claims, the district administration and the ruling Samajwadi Party had vehemently denied them. According to the local administration, “only three families” had left Kairana due to “worsening law and order”.
However, in a big boost to the BJP, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) vindicated his Hukum Singh's claims and held riot-refugees responsible for altering the demographics of the small town.
This had led to a disagreement between the NHRC and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which held that the reports of an ‘exodus’ were exaggerated.
Singh was also accused of nepotism and lobbying for his daughter Mriganka Singh, who contested and lost the 2017 UP Assembly polls from the Kairana Assembly seat.
According to Election Commission sources, at least 883 polling centres have been established in the five assembly constituencies of Shamli, Thanabhawan, Kairana (all in Shamli district) and Gangoh and Nukar in Saharanpur district. 16,095,80 voters including 7,36,420 women would exercise their franchise in the coming bypolls in Kairana.
Political parties including BJP, SP, RLD and Congress have already started their poll preparations with several top leaders from the respective parties visiting the region seeking the support of the voters.