By-polls for 20 seats in 7 states, 2nd test after LS polls
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 09, 2009, 18:49
New Delhi: By-elections to 20 assembly seats spread over seven states including seven each in Bihar and Gujarat will be held tomorrow in the second major test for political parties after the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Honours were even for the parties in the first round of by-elections for 17 seats held last month after the general elections.

Most of the 20 assembly seats fell vacant after the MLAs there got elected to the Lok Sabha. Counting of votes will be taken up on September 14.

Besides the 7 seats each in Bihar and Gujarat, elections will be held for two seats in Madhya Pradesh and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Delhi (Dwaraka). Non-Congress governments are in power in the poll-bound states except in Delhi and AP.

The polls will be held in Bochaha (SC), Aurai, Kalyanpur, Warisnagar (SC), Ramgarh, Chainpur and Chenari (SC) (all in Bihar) and Chotila, Jasdan, Dhoraji, Kodinar, Dehgam, Sami and Danta (all in Gujarat) seats.

The Congress is contesting the elections on its own from all the seven seats in Bihar. All the constituencies in the state are witnessing a multi-cornered fight. Some of the Bihar seats are in Naxal-hit areas.

Assembly constituencies of Gohad and Tendukheda (in MP), Tekkali (Andhra Pradesh), Namchi Singithong (Sikkim), Vikasnagar (Uttarakhand) and Dwarka (Delhi) also goes to polls tomorrow.

Polling will be through Electronic Voting Machines(EVM).

Campaigning for Gujarat by-polls remained a low key affair with Chief Minister Narendra Modi staying away from the campaign.

The results in Gujarat are unlikely to alter the ruling BJP's position in the Assembly with the saffron party enjoying an absolute majority in the House. Congress had won six of the seven seats going to polls.

The by-elections are also being held in the backdrop of BJP's trouble over the Gujarat High Court lifting the state government's ban on Jaswant Singh's book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah and a metropolitan court probe saying the controversial Ishrat Jahan encounter was fake and executed in "cold blood" by the police.

Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Neelmani said in Patna that fool-proof security arrangements have been made for ensuring free, fair and peaceful bypolls.

All the polling stations spread over the 7 constituencies would have "strong presence" of regular forcees including District Armed Police (DAP), Bihar Military Police (BMP), Special Task Force (STF) of Bihar police and central para-military forces, Neelmani said.

The timing of voting at the polling station in Naxal-hit areas would end at 3 PM to ensure that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) reach the strong rooms before the evening, Neelmani said.

Lalu Prasad's RJD and Ramvilas Paswan's LJP actively campaigned for the candidates of the alliance.

In Dwarka in the National Capital, a keen tussle between Congress and BJP is on the cards.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, September 09, 2009, 18:49

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