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Monday, November 30, 2020

Bypolls 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: MP voters know that CM Chouhan has just lied in 6 months, says Kamal Nath

Bye-Election 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: These elections are politically significant for both the ruling BJP as well as the Opposition parties, and are being seen by many as a litmus test for public approval of the record of the government of PM Modi in its second term.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 5, 2020 2:49:00 pm
Polling underway in Haryana's Baroda (Express Photo)

Bye-Election 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Held under the shadow of the second phase of Bihar elections, the bye-elections to 56 other Assembly seats in 11 states saw a healthy voter turnout despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with reports of violence at two places in Madhya Pradesh and allegations of “fake voting” emanating from Uttar Pradesh. These elections are politically significant for both the ruling BJP as well as the Opposition parties, and are being seen by many as a litmus test for public approval of the record of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its second term.

Amid reports of violence at a few places, an estimated 66.28 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 6 pm on Tuesday in the crucial bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, an official said. One person was injured in stray incidents of violence, police said. The average voting percentage in the 2018 assembly. polls in these 28 constituencies, most of them in the Gwalior-Chambal region, was 72.93, the official told PTI.

Voters turnout for the Uttar Pradesh assembly byelections for seven seats crossed 51 per cent at 5 pm on Tuesday, an hour before the slated end of polling. The polling for the seven seats with 88 candidates in the fray, which began at 7 am amid tight security and adherence to anti-COVID precautions, picked up momentum as the day progressed. The voters turnout went up to 51.22 per cent by 5 pm from just 18.49 per cent at 11 am, the Election Commission said.

Read | All you need to know about 56 Assembly seats going to bye-elections in 11 states

In Gujarat’s Karjan Assembly Constituency in Vadodara, the Returning Officer has set up an inquiry after Congress candidate Kiritsinh Jadeja accused rival Bhartiya Janta Party candidate Akshay Patel of distributing cash for votes. The complaint, filed by Jadeja’s election agent Upendrasinh Rana, includes two videos purportedly showing ‘BJP workers’ distributing cash to voters ahead of the polling.

Live Blog

Voting for bypolls in 54 Assembly constituencies across 10 states ended on Tuesday, including 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, eight in Gujarat, seven in Uttar Pradesh, two each in Odisha, Nagaland, Karnataka, and Jharkhand; and one seat each in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Haryana. Read HIGHLIGHTS here.

22:14 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Bypolls to 56 seats in 11 states see healthy voter turnout; reports of violence in Madhya Pradesh

At 28, the biggest chunk of Assembly seats that went to polls on Tuesday was in Madhya Pradesh, which saw a voter turnout of 66.37 per cent, according to the Election Commission.

In Morena district, Congress and BJP supporters clashed at Jatavara polling booth and an unidentified person fired a bullet during the incident, PTI quoted Superintendent of Police Anurag Sujania as saying. “A person was injured, but it was not clear whether he received the injury due to the gun shot or was hit by a stick. It will be clear only after medical examination. The injured person was referred to the district hospital for treatment,” the official said.

In Bhind, Collector Virendra Singh Rawat said they received a report about gun shots fired near a booth in Sondha village under Mehgaon Assembly constituency. Read more here

20:58 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Odisha bypolls: 70.45 per cent voting in two assembly seats

Over 70 per cent of total 4.67 lakh voters exercised their franchise in by-elections to two assembly seats in Odisha on Tuesday amidst tight security and strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol, an election official said. Voting remained by and large peaceful, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), S K Lohani said here. Balasore seat recorded 71 per cent polling, while 69.9 per cent of voters in Tirtol constituency in Jagatsinghpur district cast their ballots during voting held from 7 am to 6 pm, Lohani said.

The CEO, however, made it clear that the figures available now were 'tentative' and the exact poll percentage would be available on Wednesday as many voters who were in queue at 6 pm were allowed to cast their votes.

20:15 (IST)03 Nov 2020
87.1 per cent polling in Nagaland Assembly bypolls

Around 87.1 per cent of the total 43,242 voters exercised their franchise in the by-election to two assembly seats in Nagaland on Tuesday amidst tight security measures and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha said.

Briefing media persons, Sinha said a total of 84.41 per cent votes were cast in the 22 polling stations under Southern Angami-I constituency in Kohima district while Pungro-Kiphire segment which has 77 polling stations saw a turnout of 89.8 per cent electors. Eight candidates are in the fray for the by-elections to the two seats. (PTI)

19:47 (IST)03 Nov 2020
MP bypolls: 66.28 per cent turnout till 6 pm; one hurt in violence

Amid reports of violence at a few places, an estimated 66.28 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 6 pm on Tuesday in the crucial bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, an official said. One person was injured in stray incidents of violence, police said. The average voting percentage in the 2018 assembly polls in these 28 constituencies, most of them in the Gwalior-Chambal region, was 72.93, the official said. The polling figure of 66.28 per cent was provisional and it will be updated later, he said. A total of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers, are in the fray in these bypolls. (PTI)

19:25 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Karnataka assembly bypolls: 39.15 per cent polling at RR Nagar, 77.34 per cent at Sira till 5 pm

Polling for the Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira assembly by-elections in Karnataka held under the shadow of coronavirus concluded peacefully without any major glitches on Tuesday. Poor voter turnout marked the Rajarajeshwari Nagar bypoll with a polling percentage of only 39.15, whereas in Sira 77.34 per cent voting took place till 5 pm, according to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar.

The death of Sira JD(S) MLA B Satyanarayana in August and resignation of RR Nagar Congress MLA Munirathna from the assembly last year led to the bypolls. Till 9 am the voting did not pick up in both the constituencies as about 8 per cent voting took place.

18:46 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Over 46 per cent polling recorded till 4 pm in Baroda bypoll in Haryana

A total of 14 candidates, including Olympian wrestler and BJP nominee Yogeshwar Dutt, are contesting the Baroda assembly bypoll in Haryana, where over 46 per cent polling was registered till 4 pm on Tuesday. Dutt, who cast his vote in the morning after performing 'puja' at his wrestling academy, is pitted against Congress' Indu Raj Narwal. The Baroda seat has been a stronghold of the Congress party whose MLA Krishan Hooda had won the seat in the 2009, 2014 and 2019 assembly polls.

His death in April necessitated the bypoll, which started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm. About 1.81 lakh people are eligible to vote in the by-election. The voter turnout was 46.23 per cent till 4 pm, according to data by the Election Commission. A total of 280 polling booths have been set up, of which 151 have been categorised as "vulnerable". Security personnel, including three companies of paramilitary force, have been deployed to ensure a peaceful bypoll, officials said.

18:11 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Gujarat bypolls: Over 50 per cent voter turnout till 4 pm

A total of 50.43 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 4 pm in the bypolls to eight Assembly seats in Gujarat on Tuesday, officials said. The voting began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm. Out of the total 18.75 lakh voters in the eight seats, 50.43 per cent cast their votes till 4 pm, as per data shared by the Election Commission. Dang, a Scheduled Tribe (ST)-reserved seat, registered 66.24 per cent voter turnout till 4 pm. Besides, Kaprada clocked a turnout of 62.97 per cent, followed by Karjan-55.39 per cent, Limbdi-52.84 per cent, Morbi-48.57 per cent, Abdasa-47 per cent, Gadhada-45.44 per cent and Dhari-33.07 per cent. The by-elections to these seats were necessitated after the sitting Congress MLAs resigned ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls held in June this year. (PTI)

17:23 (IST)03 Nov 2020
On day of bypolls in MP, Digvijaya Singh questions use of EVMs

Amid the polling for by-elections on 28 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh questioned the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India, saying the device is prone to hacking. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan responded to Singh, stating that the Congress has already sensed its defeat in these bypolls and hence its party leader is finding fault with EVMs which are being used in India during polls for decades.

'In a technological age, developed countries don't trust the EVM, but elections in India and some smaller countries are conducted by EVMs.

'Why don't developed countries use (EVMs)? Because they don't trust EVMs.

'Why? Because the chip in it can be hacked, Singh tweeted and posted a news item mentioning the list of countries using these devices.

16:33 (IST)03 Nov 2020
MP bypolls: Congress, BJP supporters clash in Morena, 1 injured

Congress and BJP supporters clashed at a polling booth in Madhya Pradesh even as voting was underway for by-elections in 28 Assembly seats of the state on Tuesday, officials said. One person was injured in the clash, they said. A total of 26.86 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 12 pm on Tuesday, an election official said. BJP's Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia, who quit the Congress in March this year and joined the saffron party, cast his vote at a booth in Gwalior district.

Former MP chief minister Kamal Nath and other senior Congress leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, were monitoring the polling from a control room set up at the state party office in Bhopal. In Morena district, Congress and BJP supporters clashed at Jatavara polling booth and an unidentified person fired a bullet during the incident, Superintendent of Police Anurag Sujania said. (PTI)

16:03 (IST)03 Nov 2020
MP bypolls: 43% turnout till 2 pm, violence at two places

Amid reports of violence at two places in Madhya Pradesh, a total of 43 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 2 pm on Tuesday during voting for bypolls to 28 Assembly seats, officials said. BJP's Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia cast his
vote at a booth in Gwalior district. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reached the BJP office in Bhopal in the afternoon and held discussions with party leaders.

Former MP chief minister Kamal Nath and other senior Congress leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, were monitoring the polling from a control room set up at the state party office in Bhopal. In Morena district, Congress and BJP supporters clashed at Jatavara polling booth and an unidentified person fired a bullet during the incident, Superintendent of Police Anurag Sujania said. (PTI)

15:25 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Nagaland bypolls: 67.92 per cent voting till 1 pm in two assembly seats

Around 67.92 per cent of total 43,242 voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm in by-elections to two assembly seats in Nagaland on Tuesday amidst tight security and strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol, election officials said. Southern Angami-1 seat in Kohima district recorded 57.1 per cent polling, while 78.75 per cent of voters have cast their ballots in Pungro Kiphire constituency in Kiphire district. Polling began at 6 am in both the seats, they said, adding no untoward incident has been reported so far. The fates of eight candidates in the two seats will be sealed in EVMs by 4 pm. (PTI)

14:49 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Over 30 per cent votes cast till 1 pm in UP bypolls

Over 30 per cent votes were cast till 1 pm as voting was underway for by-elections to seven assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday in which 88 candidates are contesting. Polling started at 7 am amid tight security arrangements and COVID-19 guidelines in place. Till 11 am, just 18.49 per cent voters had exercised their franchise. The figure went up to 30.41 per cent by 1 pm, the Election Commission (EC) said.

The voting percentages till 1 pm were 33 per cent in Bangarmau, 28.83 per cent in Bulandshahr, 31.85 per cent in Deoria, 24.50 per cent in Ghatampur, 28 per cent in Malhani, 35.70 per cent in Naugaon Sadat and 31 per cent in Tundla. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath appealed to voters to participate in the "mega festival of democracy". "Voting in the bypolls to seven assembly seats in UP has begun. All the voters must participate in the mega festival of democracy. Everyone should exercise caution and discharge the duty of casting vote," he said in a tweet in Hindi. (PTI)

14:38 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Bypoll 2020: Voting underway in Odisha's two seats

The Tirtol and Balasore Sadar seats are going to polls. The by-election in Balasore was necessitated by the death in June of the BJP MLA Madan Mohan Dutta, and the party has fielded his son Manas Kumar Dutta at the seat. The Tirtol by-election was brought on by the death of the BJD’s Bishnu Charan Das, a veteran Dalit leader, in July. The BJD has fielded Das’s son, Bijay Shankar Das, at the seat.

14:27 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Gujarat bypolls: 8,000 PPE kits, voting facility for Covid patients

As many as 565 auxiliary polling stations, 8,000 PPE kits, 21 lakh hand gloves and health teams for each of the polling stations were among the measures put in place on Monday, the eve of by-elections to eight Assembly constituencies amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Officers of Election Commission of India (EC) said that they will facilitate even those down with Covid-19 to cast their votes.

S Murali Krishna, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat, said that total 566 polling stations were added to ensure that social distancing norms are not violated in the polling booths.

The bypolls to Abdasa and Morbi seats in Morbi district, Limbdi in Surendranagar district, Gadhada in Botad district, Dhari in Amreli district, Karjan in Vadodara district, Kaprada in Valsad district and Dangs in Dangs district have been warranted due to the resignation of sitting Congress MLAs ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in the state in June this year. Five of them – Pradyumansinh Jadeja (Abdasa), Brijesh Merja (Morbi), JV Kakadiya (Dhari), Akshay Patel (Karjan) and Jitu Chaudhary (Kaprada) — have since joined the BJP and are seeking to retain their seats as BJP nominees now.

13:51 (IST)03 Nov 2020
MP voters know that CM Chouhan has just lied in 6 months, says Kamal Nath

"People of Madhya Pradesh know that Shivraj Singh Chouhan has just lied in the last 6 months and has done nothing for the development of the state. Voters will now give a chance to Congress to work for the state," Kamal Nath said.

13:46 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Karnataka Bypoll: RR Nagar recorded 26.58% voter turnout, while Sira recorded 23.63% till 1 pm

A total of 26.58 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm on Tuesday for bypolls to RR Nagar Assembly constituency in Bengaluru, an election official said. Congress candidate from RR Nagar H Kusuma was among the early ones to vote and reached her polling booth in Marathahalli in the constituency after visiting a temple. Kannada actors Darshan, Amulya and Avinash also cast their votes in RR Nagar. So far, polling has been peaceful, according to police. Meanwhile, according to DCP west zone police, there was a problem in the VVPAT machine in booth number 343, Mount Carmel high school, in HV Halli, and the technical issue was corrected and polling resumed, Sanjeev M Patil, DCP West said.

Sira Constituency recorded 23.63 per cent votes on Tuesday afternoon. Sira's BJP candidate Dr Rajesh Gowda and his opponents TB Jayachandra from Congress and Ammajamma from JDS were among the few early voters. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa taking to Twitter urged voters to take all precautionary measures due to COVID-19 and cast votes in large numbers.

12:56 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Polling underway for Dubbak by-election in Telangana

Thirty four candidates are in the fray for the by-election in Dubbaka Assembly constituency in Siddipet district. The seat fell vacant after the sudden demise of the sitting ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy last August.

TRS has fielded Reddy’s wife Solipeta Sujata, while Congress has fielded Cheruku Srinivas Reddy. Srinivas Reddy defected from the TRS and joined Congress ahead of filing of nominations. He is the son of former minister Cheruku Muthyam Reddy.

The BJP has fielded M Raghunandan Rao, a lawyer and party spokesperson, who unsuccessfully contested in 2014 and 2018. The contest may be between TRS and BJP, although the Congress is campaigning strongly. However, the pro-TRS sentiment which prevails in the district gives an edge to the party over BJP or Congress.

12:38 (IST)03 Nov 2020
Bypolls 2020: Narendra Singh Tomar casts vote in Gwalior

The by-elections are important for BJP leader Narendra Singh Tomar, who had played a key role in bringing the rebel Congress MLAs to his party. He too belongs to the same region as Scindia — Gwalior — and an impressive performance in the by-elections will enhance Tomar’s stature in the party, and could boost his chief ministerial ambitions. The BJP has been fighting heartburn within after deciding to reward almost all the rebels supporting Scindia. Party workers have expressed displeasure over the sidelining of veteran leaders during the expansion of the Chouhan ministry. An emphatic victory will give the party more headroom and time to sort out the problems in its state unit.

12:20 (IST)03 Nov 2020
UP: Voters at booth boycott Tundla bypolls over 'no development'

Voters at some places in Tundla assembly constituency of Uttar Pradesh boycotted the by-election on Tuesday, alleging that no development work had taken place in their area. With the slogan "Vikas nahi, to vote nahi" (no development, no vote), voters at the Rudhau Mustkil booth No. 30 boycotted the polling. At this booth, there are 629 voters and no vote was cast till now. A purported video clip surfaced on social media, in which Sub-divisional Magistrate Ekta Singh is talking to the people and asking them to vote. The voters told the media that they would not vote till they get assurance of development. At Kachhpura village in Line Par area's booth No. 358, people are reportedly boycotting polling due to water crisis in their area. Officials, however, did not confirm this. (PTI)

11:54 (IST)03 Nov 2020
UP bypolls: Firozabad residents boycott by-elections

Residents of Firozabad have decided to boycott assembly by-election alleging lack of development in the area.

Sixty-three seats are currently vacant in state Assemblies across the country. Fifty-four of these will be filled in by-elections scheduled for Tuesday (November 3); voting for two seats in Manipur will be held on November 7.

The Election Commission has decided not to hold “at this stage” Assembly bypolls in the remaining seven seats. These vacant seats are in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and West Bengal, all of which are scheduled to get new Assemblies next year. The decision has been taken based on inputs received from the chief secretaries and election officials in these states, the poll panel has said in a release.

Apart from Madhya Pradesh, eight Assembly seats are up for grabs in Gujarat; seven in Uttar Pradesh; two each in Odisha, Nagaland, Karnataka, and Jharkhand; and one seat each in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Haryana.

The by-elections in Madhya Pradesh were necessitated after 22 sitting MLAs of the erstwhile Congress government switched over to the BJP in March 2020, leading to the fall of Kamal Nath’s 15-month-old government.

In Gujarat, the political future of five former Congress MLAs who have switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be decided, and the latter’s strategy of strengthening the party by importing MLAs from the Opposition will be tested.

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