New Delhi: Campaigning ended on Saturday for 21 October bypolls to 51 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states.
The BJP and its allies, which had nearly 30 of these assembly seats, are hoping that the winning momentum of Lok Sabha polls will continue. The Congress had won 12 of the seats while the rest were with regional parties.
Among the states ruled by the BJP and its allies, the maximum 11 seats will have bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, followed by six in Gujarat, five in Bihar, four in Assam and two each in Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The other states where bypolls will be held are Punjab (4 seats), Kerala (5 seats), Sikkim (3 seats), Rajasthan (two seats) and one seat each in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Meghalaya and Telangana.
Campaigning also concluded for bypolls to Satara (Maharashtra) and Samastipur (Bihar) Lok Sabha seats, which were held by the NCP and the LJP respectively.
The exercise is coinciding with assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the first major elections after the BJP retained power in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May winning 303 seats out of 543.
In politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, the polls are seen as a litmus test for the Yogi Adityanath government which has completed 30 months in office. It is a four-cornered contest with the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress fielding candidates on all 11 assembly seats.
Eight of these seats were held earlier by the BJP and one by BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). The seats of Rampur and Jalalpur (Ambedkarnagar) were held by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively
In Gujarat, the BJP has fielded former Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala from Radhanpur and Bayad respectively.
The Congress is hoping to consolidate its thin majority in Rajasthan by wresting the two seats from the BJP and its ally RLP. Of the 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan, the Congress has 106 MLAs, including the six who defected to the party from the BSP recently
In Bihar, the JD(U) had won four seats while one was with Congress. Assembly elections are due next year in the state and the bypolls could be seen as a vote on the performance of Nitish Kumar Government.
Campaigning in Kerala, where bypolls will be held for five seats, saw the Sabarimala women entry issue, the marks row controversy against Higher Education minister K T Jaleel and the alleged "unkept" promises by the ruling LDF being raised by the UDF and the BJP.
In the recent Lok Sabha polls, post-Sabarimala agitation, the Left front had suffered a massive drubbing, losing 19 of the total 20 seats to the Congress-led UDF. Three of the assembly seats where bypolls are being held were with the Congress.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh exuded confidence that the Congress would register a "clean sweep" in all the four assembly segments in the bypolls in the state.
Out of the four, the BJP, Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress had one seat each.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam led the AIADMK campaign in Vikravandi and Nanguneri Assembly seats.
They appealed to the voters to cast their ballots in favour of the candidates and shun the "violent mob", an apparent accusation against the DMK. Seeking support for his party's candidate, DMK leader Stalin dubbed the AIADMK government as a "servile regime which was always ready to execute any and all the diktats of the Centre".
Campaigning was low-key in the four seats in Assam with state leaders addressing meetings along with the candidates in the respective constituencies. Three of the seats were with the BJP and one with the Congress.
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang is contesting from Poklok Kamrang constituency, one of the three seats where bypolls will be held in the state. Tamang aka Golay is the president of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), which has tied up with the BJP.
Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia is contesting from Gangtok on Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) ticket. Counting of votes will be on 24 October. The Election Commission had earlier announced bypolls to 15 assembly seats in Karnataka too. But they will be now be held in December.
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Updated Date: Oct 19, 2019 23:56:55 IST