Polling for the bypolls in Ghosi, Dumri, Dhanpur, Boxanagar, Bageshwar, Dhupguri and Puthuppally began at 7am.
In what could be seen as a litmus test for the Opposition bloc –Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance or INDIA against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of crucial state assembly polls later this year and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, polling for by-election to seven assembly seats in six states is being held on Tuesday.
Polling for the bypolls in Ghosi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand’s Dumri, Dhanpur and Boxanagar in Tripura, Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar, Dhupguri in West Bengal and Puthuppally in Kerala began at 7am. The counting of votes will be held on September 8.
The opposition alliance comprises 28 parties including the Congress, NCP faction led by Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT), TMC, JMM, AAP, DMK, NC, PDP, CPI(M), CPI, RJD, SP and RLD.
Ghosi, Uttar Pradesh
The Ghosi seat fell vacant after the resignation of Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA and OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan, who rejoined the BJP. Chauhan is now contesting for the same seat on an NDA ticket, while Samajwadi Party candidate Sudhakar Singh has received the support of the Congress and Left parties.
Chauhan was earlier a minister in the previous BJP government headed by Yogi Adityanath. On January 12 last year, he had resigned from the council of ministers and switched to the SP.
While chief minister Yogi Adityanath led the BJP’s charge, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addressed an election meeting in Ghosi. According to Yadav, the election would bring a change in the country’s politics.
Dhupguri, West Bengal
The Dhupguri assembly constituency in north Bengal is witnessing a three-cornered contest among the Trinamool Congress, BJP and the Congress-supported CPI(M). While the TMC had won the seat in 2016, it was snatched by the BJP in 2021.
The Dhupguri assembly seat fell vacated after the death of BJP’s Bishnu Pada Ray. The BJP is fielding Tapasi Roy against TMC candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy and the CPI(M) candidate Ishwar Chandra Roy.
Dhanpur and Boxanagar, Tripura
Tripura chief minister Manik Saha led the BJP’s campaign from the front in Dhanpur and Boxanagar seats in Sepahijala district.
Tipra Motha, the main opposition, and Congress have stayed away. On Sunday, the Tripura Pradesh Congress urged people to vote for opposition bloc INDIA candidates in the two seats.
The Congress has decided to support the CPI(M), though they initially expressed dissatisfaction over the latter’s declaration of candidates without any consultation with them.
Three days ago, the TIPRA Motha announced not to support anyone in the bypolls, though the CPI(M) claimed that the TIPRA Motha is campaigning for the CPI(M) in the two constituencies. “Our party didn’t put up candidates and decided not to support either BJP or CPI(M),” said opposition leader Animesh Debbarma.
BJP’s Tafajjal Hussain, who unsuccessfully contested the assembly election in February, is contesting against CPI(M)’s Mizan Hussain in minority-dominated Boxanagar constituency, which is still considered the Left party’s stronghold.
Dhanpur, once a strong bastion of the communists, is heading for a direct fight between BJP’s Bindu Debnath and CPI(M)’s Kaushik Debnath.
In Jharkhand’s Dumri, INDIA bloc candidate Bebi Devi is taking on NDA’s Yashoda Devi. The seat has turned out to be a prestigious one for both alliances amid Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) claiming that the INDIA bloc will begin its victory journey from Dumri, while the NDA exuded confidence that it is all set to snatch the seat from JMM.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of JMM MLA Jagarnath Mahto, former education minister, in April. Mahto had been representing the seat since 2004.
In Kerala Puthuppally, the Congress and the ruling Left have decided to take on each other, with the opposition party in the state banking on “anti-incumbency” and the late Oommen Chandy’s legacy.
While Chandy Oommen, the son of Oomen Chandy, is the candidate of the Congress-led UDF Opposition, the ruling Left once again decided to go with DYFI leader Jaick C Thomas who had unsuccessfully contested from the segment in 2016 and 2021 against the late Chandy. The BJP gave a ticket its Kottayam district president G Lijinlal.
The BJP and the Congress are in a straight contest in Uttarakhand. The ruling BJP has fielded Parvati Das as it seeks to retain the seat. It was won by her husband Chandan Das in four consecutive elections since 2007 and his death necessitated the bypoll.
In the Bageshwar seat, the Samajwadi Party, Congress and BJP will feature a contest against each other. The by-election was prompted by the death of BJP MLA Chandan Ram Dass.
The BJP is fielding Dass’s wife Parwati against Congress’s Basant Kumar and SP’s Bhagawati Prasad.
Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and other top BJP leaders campaigned for Dass.
Congress heavyweights like Harish Rawat, PCC president Karan Mahara and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Yashpal Arya had also been camping in Bageshwar for the past few days to garner support for party candidate Basant Kumar.