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Seven crucial bypolls today in five states: BJP and SP lock horns in high-stakes battle for Mainpuri and Rampur

By-elections will also be held in Katauli (Uttar Pradesh), Kurhani (Bihar), Padampur (Odisha), Sardarshahar (Rajasthan), and Bhanupratappur (Chhattisgarh). Here is a primer on the electoral contests.

People stand in a queue to register their vote for elections at a booth. (Representative/Express photo by Partha Paul)

Bypolls will be held in a Lok Sabha seat and six Assembly seats in five states on Monday. While the Lok Sabha by-election will be held in Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, where the Samajwadi Party is locked in a high-stakes battle with the BJP to retain the seat party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav used to represent, Assembly bypolls will be held for the constituencies of Katauli and Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), Kurhani (Bihar), Padampur (Odisha), Sardarshahar (Rajasthan), and Bhanupratappur (Chhattisgarh). The results will be declared on December 8 along with the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

A detailed look at the electoral contests.

Lok Sabha bypoll

Mainpuri (24.43 lakh voters)

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Why it is being held: The seat fell vacant after Mulayam Singh Yadav died in October.

What is at stake: Eyes are on whether the SP will be able to retain the seat that Mulayam won five times since 1996, including the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A win for the BJP will be a massive blow to the Opposition party, which lost its stronghold of Azamgarh a few months ago.

Candidates: The SP has fielded party president Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav. The BJP candidate is Raghuraj Singh Shakya, a former aide of Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav.

Assembly by-elections

Bhanupratappur (1.97 lakh voters)

Why it is being held: Sitting Congress Manoj Singh Mandavi died of a heart attack on October 16.

What is at stake: While the outcome of this bypoll will not have any major impact on the government, a victory will bolster the victory in the run-up to the Assembly elections next year.

Candidates: Seven candidates are in the fray, but the fight is being seen as a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress has fielded Mandavi’s wife Savitri while the BJP nominee is former MLA Brahmanand Netam.

Khatauli (3.14 lakh voters)

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Why it’s being held: BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini lost the seat after his conviction in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case.

What is at stake: Saini won Khatauli for the second consecutive time in March, defeating the SP and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance. The BSP and the Congress have stayed away from the contest.

Candidates: The ruling party’s candidate is Saini’s wife Rajkumari while the RLD has fielded Madan Bhaiya. The mother of Gaurav Singh, a Jat youth who was killed along with his cousin Sachin in Kawal village in August 2013 is in the fray as an Independent.

Kurhani (3.11 lakh voters)

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Why it is being held: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA Anil Kumar Sahani was disqualified following his conviction for fraudulently claiming travelling and dearness allowance reimbursements when he was a member of the Rajya Sabha.

What is at stake: This is the first electoral battle between former allies JD(U) and the BJP since they broke ties in August. The RJD has extended its full support to the JD(U). Among others, the bypoll result will reveal if the RJD can transfer its votes to its ally.

Candidates: Thirteen candidates in the fray but the contest is primarily between JD(U)’s Manoj Singh Kushwaha and BJP’s Kedar Gupta, both of whom have won the seat in the past.

Padampur (2.57 lakh voters)

Why it is being held: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Bijaya Ranjan Singh Bariha died in October.

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What is at stake: The BJD had not lost a single by-election in the state since 2008 till the BJP ended that streak by winning the Dhamnagar bypoll last month. The BJP is hoping to replicate its success. Illustrating the importance the BJD has attached to the seat, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hit the campaign trail last week for the first time in three years.

Candidates: The BJD has fielded Bijaya’s daughter Barsha Singh Bariha, a 29-year-old lawyer. The BJP nominee is Pradip Purohit, a former MLA. Purohit lost to Bijaya by 5,734 votes in 2019.

Rampur (3.8 lakh voters)

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Why it is being held: Azam Khan was disqualified as MLA after a court convicted him in a 2019 hate speech case.

What is at stake: The BJP is hoping to establish its dominance in Rampur after having won the Rampur Lok Sabha constituency in June. For Azam Khan, this is a fight to hold on to a seat considered his stronghold.

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Candidates: BJP candidate Akash Saxena, the son of former party MLA Shiv Bahadur Saxena, is up against Khan’s associate Asim Raja.

Sardarshahar (2.89 lakh voters)

Why it is being held: The seat fell vacant after the death of Bhanwar Lal Sharma of the Congress.

What is at stake: The BJP and the Congress in the state are eyeing the seat, which they hope will give them some momentum in the run-up to the 2024 polls. The third party in the fray is the Hanuman Beniwal-led Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP).

Candidates: The Congress has fielded Sharma’s son Anil while the BJP candidate is former MLA Ashok Kumar Pincha, who has contested from the seat six times in the past. The RLP candidate is Lalchand Moond.

— With PTI inputs

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 07:30 IST
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