Moderate to high turnout on Saturday marked the byelections held in three Lok Sabha and 33 Assembly constituencies across several states in an exercise seen as yet another test of the Narendra Modi government’s popularity since assuming power in May. Polling was held peacefully across all states.
The three Lok Sabha bypolls are in Vadodara (Gujarat), Mainpuri (UP) and Medak (Telangana). Among the Assembly seats, nine in Gujarat, four in Rajasthan, two in West Bengal, five in Northeastern states and one each in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh went to polls Saturday. Counting is scheduled for September 16.
Both of PM Modi former constituencies — Vadodara and Maninagar — registered comparatively low turnouts. The overall polling percentage was 50.
Maninagar Assembly seat, last represented by Modi as MLA, recorded the lowest polling at around 33.5 per cent while the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat saw about 43.5 per cent, compared to the 70 per cent in the LS polls in May.
In the Vadodara Lok Sabha and nine Assembly seats that went to bypolls, the average voter turnout was 50 per cent. The tribal Limkheda seat saw the highest voting at 64 per cent while Maninagar saw the lowest turnout.
More than 10,000 people residing in different flood-affected localities in Vadodara decided to boycott the election in protest against the apathy of the administration.
In UP, the byelections for 11 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat witnessed a turnout of 53.18 per cent and 56.40 per cent respectively.
Urban seats of Lucknow East and Noida saw the lowest voter turnout at 34 and 32.50 per cent respectively. Thakurdwara Assembly segment of Moradabad district witnessed the maximum voter turnout with 69 per cent voters. Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, which was vacated by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, saw a 56.40 per cent turnout.
In Chhattisgarh, the bypoll for the Antagarh Assembly seat in Maoist-hit Kanker district saw a drastic dip in polling percentage — from the 77 per cent recorded in the November 2013 polls to 49 per cent.
The byelection for the Manu (ST) Assembly seat in Tripura saw a record turnout. Joint Chief Electoral Officer Debasish Modak said: “Roughly 87 per cent voters exercised their franchise”.
Nearly 70 per cent polling was recorded in the byelection for three Assembly seats in Assam, to decide the fate of 25 contestants in Silchar, Lakhipur and Jamunamukh.
Over 65 per cent polling was reported in the bypoll for the Medak Lok Sabha seat in Telangana and the Nandigama (SC) Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh, as polling came to a close at 6 pm.
A total of 66.30 per cent electorate cast their votes in bypolls to four Assembly seats in Rajasthan. Twenty-three candidates are in the fray for the Nasirabad (Ajmer), Weir (Bharatpur), Surajgarh (Jhunjhunu) and Kota South constituencies.
Voting in two Assembly constituencies that went to bypolls in West Bengal saw a slight dip in percentage. The turnout at Chowringhee was 47 per cent while Basirhat South recorded a turnout of 79.59 per cent. Overall turnout was 63 per cent.
(With inputs from Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Raipur, Lucknow & PTI)
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