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Bypolls: High voter turnout in Kerala, Bengal, 6 injured in stray violence in Tripura

Image Source : REPRESENTATIONAL PIC Voting by and large concludes peacefully

Bypolls in 6 states: High voter turnout was recorded in most of the seven assembly constituencies in six states- West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Tripura where the by-election was held on Tuesday. The voting concluded peacefully barring some stray incidents of violence in Tripura in which 6 people were injured. 

The counting of votes is on September 8 for the by-election – seen as a litmus test for the opposition alliance INDIA against the BJP-led NDA ahead of the assembly polls in five states later this year and the 2023 Lok Sabha election.

Here are the state-wise details of polling

Uttar Pradesh: Ghosi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, where the voting was moderate at around 50 per cent, will reflect the mood of voters in the changed political scenario. Congress did not field a candidate in Ghosi lending support to SP candidate Sudhakar Singh. The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Dara Singh Chauhan, who had won the seat in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, from the Samajwadi Party in July. He returned to the BJP and was selected by the party to contest the bypoll. In the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Chauhan defeated BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Rajbhar by a margin of 22,216 votes. In the bypoll, Chauhan is being supported by NDA partners Apna Dal (Sonelal), Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) Party and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a former SP ally. 

On the other hand, Samajwadi Party candidate Singh got support from I.N.D.I.A bloc constituents — the Congress, CPI(M), CPI, RLD, AAP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and Suheldev Swabhiman Party.

A total of 10 candidates are in the fray. 

Tripura: Tripura is the only state where two assembly seats -Dhanpur and Boxanagar- underwent byelections. Dhanpur recorded 89. 20 per cent polling and 83. 92 per cent voting was registered in Boxanagar constituency, chief electoral officer (CEO) Puneet Agarwal said. Six persons were injured in a stray incident of violence in the northeastern state.

The Congress had extended support to the CPI(M) in the bypoll. BJP’s Tafajjal Hussain, who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly election from Boxanagar, was contesting against CPI(M) nominee Mizan Hussain. The Boxanagar assembly segment has 66 per cent minority voters of a total of 43,087 electors. The Dhanpur assembly constituency, once considered a stronghold of the Left, will witness a fight between BJP’s Bindu Debnath and Kaushik Debnath of CPI(M). The BJP won the seat for the first time in the assembly poll held seven months ago. The Congress and the Tripra Motha did not field their candidates in the two seats for the bypolls which will help CPI(M). Tripra Motha in the last election went solo which means its voters may go against the ruling BJP subsequently, help the Left. The byelection to the Boxanagar constituency was necessitated by the death of CPI(M) MLA Samsul Haque. Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik’s resignation as the MLA of Dhanpur necessitated the byelection to that seat.

Uttarakhand: Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar, where the main contest is between the BJP and the Congress, saw 55. 44 per cent voter turnout. However, SP which is an ally of I.N.D.I.A, interestingly fielded a candidate making the fight triangular. Akhilesh Yadav-led SP fielded Bhagwati Prasad Trikoti, who had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections 2014.

The BJP fielded Parvati Das while the Congress has pitted Basant Kumar against her. Das is the wife of Chandan Ram Das whose death in April this year necessitated the bypoll.  He had won from the seat four times since 2007. 

Jharkhand: The byelection to Dumri assembly seat in Jharkhand, where a direct fight was between I.N.D.I.A and NDA, witnessed 64.84 per cent voter turnout. JMM candidate Bebi Devi contested the byelection as the nominee of the I.N.D.I.A. BJP-led NDA fielded AJSU Party candidate Yashoda Devi. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA and former education minister Jagarnath Mahto. Mahto was the husband of Bebi Devi. He had been representing the seat since 2004.

West Bengal: 76 per cent voter turnout was reported in West Benal’s Dhupguri assembly seat. The Dhupguri poll battle was very interesting in the wake I.N.D.I.A bloc. Main I.N.D.I.A partners – TMC and Congress-CPI(M) alliance- in Bengal were fighting against each other. The third player is the BJP in the contest in Dhupguri. CPI (M)’s Ishwar Chandra Roy contested as the candidate of the Congress-Left alliance, while the ruling TMC has fielded Nirmal Chandra Roy, a teacher by profession. The BJP nominated Tapasi Roy, the widow of a CRPF jawan who died fighting terrorists in Kashmir a few years back.

The bypoll to the seat was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Bishu Pada Ray earlier this year.

Dhupguri, a scheduled caste-reserved seat, has nearly 50 per cent Rajbanshi people and 15 per cent minority population. The BJP had snatched the constituency from the TMC in the 2021 assembly polls.

Kerala: Puthuppally assembly seat saw a 73 per cent voter turnout on Tuesday. The seat belongs to late Kerala CM Oommen Chandy. The Congress veteran held the seat for 53 years. The ruling CPI(M) and the opposition Congress were locked in a fierce battle for the assembly seat representing this constituency that fell vacant after the demise of Congress stalwart. The Congress-led opposition UDF fielded Oommen Chandy’s son, Chandy Oommen, which analysts view as an apparent strategy to capitalise on the sympathy wave following the former CM’s death. The ruling Left front once again decided to go with DYFI leader Jaick C Thomas who had unsuccessfully contested the segment in 2016 and 2021 against the late Chandy. The BJP has fielded its Kottayam district president, G Lijinlal.

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