EC to conduct 65 bypolls along with Bihar election; 27 seats vacated by Scindia loyalists in MP included
The bypolls will include 27 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, which fell vacant after former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and MLAs supporting him quit their posts in March this year
The Election Commission said it has decided to hold the pending bypolls and the Bihar Assembly polls "around the same time". Since the term of the Bihar Assembly ends on 29 November, elections are likely to be held in October or November.
"One of the major factors in clubbing them together is the relative ease of movement of central forces and related logistics issues," a statement of the Election Commission said.
"The announcement of the schedule of Bihar General Assembly Elections as well as these by-elections will be done by the Commission at appropriate time," the statement added.
Several bypolls across the country were recently deferred due to heavy rainfall and the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are 64 vacancies in the legislative Assemblies of various states and one in Lok Sabha.
The vacant Assembly seats include 27 in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, after former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and the MLAs supporting him quit the party and their posts as legislators in March this year.
The move led to a political crisis in the state, resulting in former chief minister Kamal Nath having to resign as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.
In anticipation of the bypolls, state BJP leadership visited Delhi on Wednesday to finalise the names of candidates from the saffron party.
The Times of India reported that BP has finalised the 22 ex-MLAs part of the Scindia camp as candidates. Additionally, the report quoted sources as saying that candidates for Joura (Morena), Agar Malwa, Malhera (Chhatarpur), Nepanag, Mandhata (Khandwa) have also been finalised.
Besides Madhya Pradesh, bypolls in eight seats in the Gujarat Assembly are pending as well. These are the Abdasa, Limdi, Karjan, Dang, Kaprada, Morbi, Dadhada, and Dhari constituencies.
On 31 August, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed a PIL seeking postponement of by-elections to these eight Assembly seats in the state, for which the schedule is yet to be announced.
The PIL, filed by social worker Farsu Goklani, had sought postponement of the by-elections to the eight seats citing the coronavirus pandemic.
In July, the EC had deferred polls in one Lok Sabha seat, and seven Assembly seats due to "extraordinary circumstances peculiar to these constituencies".
They were the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, along with two Assembly seats each in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, and one each in Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. Most of these seats had falledn vacant due to the death of sitting members.
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