New Delhi: Voting for by-elections to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh will be held from 7 am to 6 pm on Tuesday while adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions. The day will also witness bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka also. As many as 88 candidates will face the electoral test in the bypolls to seven UP assembly constituencies while two assembly seats in Karnataka will also see by-elections.

Of the seven seats going to the bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, six were held by the BJP and one by the Samajwadi Party.
A total of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers, are in the fray for bypolls to 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh, where around 33,000 security personnel have been deployed in 19 districts for peaceful bypolls. The state administration has reportedly made all preparations to hold free and fair polls.

According to reports, 250 flying squads, 173 static surveillance teams, and 293 police check-posts have been pressed into service in 28 Assembly constituencies, where a total of 63.67 lakh voters will cast their votes. As many as 9,361 booths have been set up for people to exercise their franchise and out of these, 3,038 are placed under the ‘critical’ category.

In most of the seats, there is a direct fight between the BJP and Congress, while in two or three seats of Gwalior Chambal region, a triangular contest is on the cards in the wake of the BSP’s presence there, according to political observers.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia, state BJP chief V D Sharma, former state CM Uma Bharti, among others, campaigned to drum up support for their party nominees.

MP Congress president and former CM Kamal Nath, Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh and senior party leader from Rajasthan Sachin Pilot also toured the state to woo the voters for their party candidates.

For the first time in the history of Madhya Pradesh, 28 Assembly seats in the 230-member House are going to bypolls in one go. By-elections are being held in 25 seats as sitting Congress MLAs resigned and joined the BJP. They are now in the fray as BJP candidates.

In the three other seats, the by-election was necessitated due to the demise of the sitting legislators. A few days back, one more Congress MLA resigned. The BJP currently has 107 MLAs, while the Congress has 87 legislators in the House. The counting of votes will take place on November 10. 

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Fate of 88 candidates to be decided in UP bypolls

Eighty-eight candidates will face the electoral test in the bypolls to seven Uttar Pradesh assembly constituencies on Tuesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the seven seats going to the bypolls, six were held by the BJP and one by the Samajwadi Party.

The seven assembly seats where the bypolls will be held include Naugaon Sadat, which fell vacant after the death of cabinet minister Chetan Chauhan. The BJP has fielded his wife Sangeeta Chauhan for the bypolls. In Ghatampur (Kanpur), the bypolls were necessitated due to the death of sitting MLA and cabinet minister Kamal Rani Varun while in Tundla (Firozabad), MLA S P Singh Baghel was elected to Lok Sabha.

The Bangarmau (Unnao) seat fell vacant following the conviction of Kuldeep Singh Sengar in a rape case. The seats of Bulandshahr, Deoria and Malhani will go to bypolls due to the demise of sitting MLAs Virendra Singh Sirohi, Janmejay Singh and Parasnath Yadav (SP).

The counting of votes will take place on November 10. Eighteen candidates are in the fray from Bulandshahr. Six candidates are locked in a contest in Ghatampur, the lowest number among the constituencies.

Sixteen candidates are in the fray from Malhani (Jaunpur), 14 each from Naugawan Sadat (Amroha), and Deoria, 10 each from Bangarmau (Unnao) and Tundla (Firozabad).

The Yogi Adityanath government has been facing criticism over the law and order situation in the state, particularly after the Hathras and Balrampur rape and murder cases.

Last week, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad had launched the Azad Samaj Party campaign for the bypoll in Bulandshahr. The bypolls will also be the first electoral test for the Azad Samaj Party, which evolved from the political movement of the Bhim Army led by Chandrashekhar Azad, as it will be looking to consolidate its hold among the Dalits.

The Azad Samaj Party has fielded Md Yameen as its candidate from Bulandshahr. 

Earlier on Sunday, BSP supremo Mayawati too Sunday had appealed to people to vote for her party candidates and send a political message to rivals. 

Sira and RR Nagar bypolls in Karnataka 

The by-polls to two assembly Constituencies in Karnataka — Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru Urban district and Sira in Tumakuru district– will take place on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. The voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm in the two constituencies with a voting population of 6,78,012 including 3,26,114 women.

The death of Sira MLA B Satyanarayana, who was from the JD(S), and the resignation of RR Nagar Congress MLA Munirathna from the assembly last year, led to the bye-elections. There will be 1,008 polling stations, comprising 678 in RR Nagar and 330 in Sira, according to an official statement.

There are a total 31 candidates in the fray in the bypolls — 15 in Sira and 16 in RR Nagar including those from the Congress, BJP, and the JD(S). 

In RR Nagar, the BJP has fielded former Congress MLA Munirathna as its candidate whereas the Congress has given a ticket to H Kusuma, wife of former IAS officer late D K Ravi in the seat traditionally held by the party. The JD(S) has fielded V Krishnamurthy.

The RR Nagar has become a prestigious issue for both the Congress and the BJP. The BJP had earlier held this constituency which Munirathna had wrested as the Congress MLA. 

This constituency is part of the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency which is represented by D K Suresh, who is the brother of Congress state chief D K Shivakumar.

In Sira, the BJP, Congress, and JD(S) have fielded radiologist Dr Rakesh Gowda, former minister T B Jayachandra and former (JD-S) MLA B Satyanarayana’s wife Ammajamma respectively. The BJP has never won the election from there, but this time, the party would try to turn the tables on the Congress and the JD(S).

BJP had already wrested the KR Pet assembly constituency in Mandya from the JD(S), which was its stranglehold. A year ago during the Lok Sabha election, a BJP backed independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, a multilingual film actress, had won the election from Mandya defeating JD(S) H D Deve Gowda’s grandson and H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy.

The JD(S) and the Congress have left no stone unturned to prevent the BJP from making any gains here.

In the 224-seat assembly, BJP has 116 MLAs minus the Speaker, Congress 67 and JD(S) 33, BSP 1 and there are two independents. There is also a nominated member. 

(With Agency Inputs)

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