Updated: June 23, 2022 10:52:29 pm
Bye-elections for three Lok Sabha seats and seven Assembly seats were held Thursday. Of the three LS seats, Sangrur in Punjab recorded 37.01 per cent voter turnout till 3 pm while the polling percentages at Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur and Azamgarh were 39.02 per cent and 48.58% per cent respectively.
In UP, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the ruling BJP of misusing power to disrupt voting. He claimed that though the Election Commission was informed about the developments, they remained a mute spectator. SP workers were harassed and undue pressure was created on them to vote for the BJP candidates, he alleged.
Azamgarh seat fell vacant after Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav was elected to the Assembly while Rampur fell vacant after SP leader Azam Khan was elected to the state Assembly; In Sangrur, polls were necessitated after Bhagwant Mann resigned as MP to contest the Assembly elections earlier this year from Dhuri. He won and was sworn in as the Chief Minister.
The Assembly seats that went to polls are Atmakur in Andhra Pradesh; Rajinder Nagar in Delhi; Surma, Jubarajnagar, Town Bardowali, and Agartala in Tripura; and Mandar in Jharkhand.
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The results are scheduled to be announced on June 26.
Till the end of polling hours, Rajinder Nagar Assembly constituency in Delhi recorded 43.75 per cent voter turnout while the four Assembly seats in Tripura saw an overall polling percentage of 78.58.
The bypolls were held a week after violent protests broke out across the country against the Centre’s new Agnipath scheme for military recruitments. This has emerged as an issue in all the three Lok Sabha seats going to polls today, making the bye-elections challenging for the BJP.
The Rajinder Nagar bypoll in Delhi, meanwhile, which has been necessitated after AAP’s Raghav Chadha was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, has seen a high-voltage campaign, with the party heavyweights hitting the trail ahead of the elections. The BJP has fielded Rajesh Bhatia as its candidate, the AAP has given ticket to Durgesh Pathak, and Congress to Prem Lata.
In Tripura, the bye-elections were held barely eight months ahead of the general Assembly elections next year, and is considered crucial for Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha who replaced Biplab Kumar Deb only last month. The dentist-turned politician is himself a candidate and is fighting his first-ever direct election to save his CM seat.
Nearly 67 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the bypolls to Atmakur constituency in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from some minor incidents, the polling went on without any violence, serious complaint and interruption, State Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena said.
In Battepadu village in Atmakur, Independent candidate T Sasidhar Reddy alleged campaigning inside a polling station by ruling YSR Congress activists. He also claimed the authorities were turning a blind eye to it and picked up an argument with the police. Following intervention by senior officials, the issue subsided.
Andhra Pradesh’s ruling YSR Congress Party had a clear edge in the bypoll for the Atmakur Assembly constituency. The party is confident of a cakewalk because the main opposition party—the Telugu Desam Party—is not contesting, apart from Congress. The YSR Congress Party’s main rival is the BJP, which has hardly any presence in the constituency in the state’s Nellore district.
In Jharkhand, 56.03 per cent turnout was reported in the Mandar assembly bypoll in Ranchi district.
The BJP, Congress and an Independent candidate, Dev Kumar Dhan, were in contention for Jharkhand’s Mandar seat. The bypoll is being held after the disqualification of Bandhu Tirkey as an MLA in the wake of his conviction in a corruption case. The Congress, an ally of the ruling JMM-led government, hopes to retain the seat reserved for ST.
Sangrur by-election, a five-way contest
There were 15.69 lakh voters eligible to cast their votes in the Sangrur Lok Sabha bye-election. As many as 1,766 polling booths were set up across the constituency, which comprises nine assembly seats in three districts — Sangrur, Lehragaga, Dirba, Sunam, Dhuri in Sangrur district; Malerkotla in Malerkotla district; and Barnala, Mehal Kalan and Bhadaur in Barnala district.
As of now, all the nine Assembly seats have been won by AAP with a huge margins.
Though a total of 16 candidates filed their nomination papers, this was a five- way contest between AAP’s Gurmel Singh, a 37-year-old sarpanch of Ghrachon village and a first time candidate; former Congress MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy Khangura; BJP’s Kewal Dhillon, a former Congress MLA who joined the saffron party a day before his candidature was announced; SAD (Amritsar)’s Simranjit Singh Mann and SAD (Badal)’s Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, who have raised the issue of the release of Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners) lodged in different jails in the country even after completing their terms.
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