New Delhi: Counting of votes will be held on Sunday in the by-election to seven assembly constituencies in six states including former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s family bastion Admapur in Haryana.
Bhajan Lal’s grandson Bhavya Bishnoi, who contested on a BJP ticket, and RJD’s Neelam Devi, whose husband Anant Singh’s disqualification necessitated the by-election in Bihar’s Mokama, are among the prominent candidates in the fray.
The other constituencies where results of the November 3 bypolls will be out were Gopalganj in Bihar, Andheri (East) of Maharashtra, Munugode of Telangana, Gola Gokarannath of Uttar Pradesh, and Dhamnagar of Odisha.
Among the seven seats which witnessed a stiff contest between the BJP and the regional parties, the saffron party held three and the Congress two, while the Shiv Sena and the RJD had one each.
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For the bypolls in Bihar, the main contest is between the BJP and the RJD, and the saffron party’s main contenders in Haryana are the Congress, INLD and the AAP.
Main contestants TRS, SP and the BJD are taking on the BJP in Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha respectively are taking on the saffron party.
The BJP is seeking to retain the Gola Gokarannath seat in Uttar Pradesh and Dhamnagar in the BJD-ruled Odisha, banking on sympathy votes as it has fielded the sons of sitting MLAs whose death necessitated the bypolls.
The Gola Gokarannath seat fell vacant after the death of BJP MLA Arvind Giri on September 6. With the BSP and the Congress keeping away from the bypolls, there seems to be a direct fight between the BJP’s Aman Giri and the SP candidate – former Gola MLA Vinay Tiwari.
The BJD has fielded Abanti Das, the lone woman among the total five candidates in Dhamnagar. BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi’s death necessitated the by-election. The saffron party has fielded Sethi’s son Suryabanshi Suraj.
The BJP and the ruling TRS had been campaigning aggressively in Munugode in Telangana, where the Congress MLA had resigned and is fighting on the saffron party’s ticket.
In Adampur, the by-election was necessitated after former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi resigned as MLA from the seat and switched from the Congress to the BJP in August. Bishnoi’s son Bhavya is now contesting as the BJP candidate.
The Adampur seat has been held by the Bhajan Lal family since 1968, with the late ex-chief minister representing it on nine occasions, his wife Jasma Devi once, and Kuldeep on four occasions.
Bihar saw the first electoral test for the Nitish Kumar-led ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government, formed less than three months ago after the JD(U) parted ways with the BJP.
The Mokama and Gopalganj seats in Bihar were earlier held by the RJD and the BJP respectively.
The BJP is contesting from the Mokama constituency for the first time as the saffron party had, on previous occasions, left the seat to its allies. Both the BJP and the RJD have fielded the wives of local musclemen in the bypolls.
BJP nominee Sonam Devi is up against RJD’s Neelam Devi, whose husband Anant Singh’s disqualification has necessitated the by-election.
Mokama is the stronghold of Anant Singh since 2005. He won the seat twice on JD(U) tickets and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has appealed to voters to support him.
In Gopalganj, BJP fielded Kusum Devi, the wife of deceased party MLA Subhash Singh. The RJD fielded Mohan Gupta, while Indira Yadav, wife of Lalu Yadav’s brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, is contesting as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate.
Shiv Sena’s Rutuja Latke is expected to comfortably win Andheri East Assembly constituency in Mumbai after the BJP withdrew from the contest which is the first after the recent split in the Shiv Sena following a rebellion by Eknath Shinde, who replaced Thackeray as the Maharashtra chief minister.
The NCP and Congress have supported her candidature.
The by-election was necessitated due to the death of Latke’s husband and Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May.