Bypolls are being held in as many as 51 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies across 17 states and one union territory today, when voters also decide the fate of politically crucial Maharashtra and Haryana.
Thirty of these seats are currently held by the BJP, 12 by the Congress, and the rest by regional parties. Uttar Pradesh is also witnessing bypolls in 11 assembly seats; followed by six in Gujarat; five each in Bihar and Kerala; four each in Assam and Punjab; three in Sikkim; two each in Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan; and one seat each in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Meghalaya and Telangana.
Apart from this, voting for the bypolls are on in the Satara and Samastipur Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and Bihar respectively.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP hopes to increase its strength in the legislative assembly by scoring a win in Rampur, held by the Samajwadi Party, and Jalalpur, which is currently with the Bahujan Samaj Party. Opposition parties, on the other hand, want to repeat their success in the bypolls to the Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana Lok Sabha seats and Noorpur assembly constituency last year.
Of the 11 seats in contention across the northern state, the BJP holds eight while the ninth — Pratapgarh — is held by its political ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). They are challenged by the Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and the Congress on all the seats.
While the Gujarat bypolls happens to be a prestige battle for Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the bypolls to five assembly seats and a single Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar is being seen as the semifinals for the assembly elections due next year. Apart from the tussle for the Samastipur Lok Sabha bypoll, necessitated by the death of Lok Janshakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan’s brother Ramchandra Paswan, pitched electoral battles are expected to be witnessed in the state’s Kishanganj, Nathnagar, Belhar, Simri Bakhtiyarpur and Daraunda assembly constituencies.
Deciding the fate of 51 candidates would be three million voters across the eastern state.
As many as 33 candidates are also battling for four assembly seats across Punjab today, their fate decided by 7.68 lakh voters. The main players facing off in these bypolls are the ruling Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine.
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang is contesting from Poklok Kamrang, one of the nine assembly constituencies where bypolls are being held across the northeast. He is required to be elected to the state assembly in order to continue heading the state cabinet.
Besides this, bypolls are also expected to be held in two other seats in Sikkim, four in Assam and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.