New Delhi: Votes are being counted in seven Assembly seats across the country which saw by-elections Tuesday, and results are expected to be a strength test for the country’s Opposition parties.
The NDA and the newly-formed INDIA bloc of the Opposition went head on against each other in five of the seven seats, namely Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh, Dumri in Jharkhand, Dhanpur and Boxanagar in Tripura and Bageshwar in Uttarakhand.
In the other two – Dhupguri in West Bengal and Puthupally in Kerala – INDIA members fought against each other.
Of the seven, three were previously held by the BJP, and one each by the Samajwadi Party, CPI(M), JMM, and the Congress.
Why the bypolls
The Ghosi seat fell vacant because Samajwadi Party MLA Dara Singh Chauhan rejoined the BJP.
Chauhan is contesting from a BJP ticket, and his challenger is Samajwadi Party’s Sudhakar Singh, who garnered the support of the Congress and the Left.
Chauhan, who was a minister in the previous government headed by
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, led a high-octane campaign here and the result is being viewed as an acid test for the united Opposition.
Tripura’s Dhanpur and Boxanagar seats in the Sepahijala district saw a direct fight between the BJP and the CPI(M), as the state’s main Opposition Tipra Motha and the Congress stayed away.
BJP’s Tafajjal Hussain contested against CPI(M)’s Mizan Hussain in the minority-dominated Boxanagar constituency.
The seat was held by Mizan’s father and CPI(M) MLA Samsol Haque who passed away in July, necessitating the polls.
In Dhanpur, also a Communist stronghold, BJP’s Bindu Debnath was pitted against the CPI(M)’s Kaushik Debnath.
The by-elections here happened because BJP’s Union minister Pratima Bhoumik resigned from the Assembly days after her election to Parliament.
In Jharkhand’s Dumri, INDIA bloc candidate Bebi Devi of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was in a direct contest with NDA candidate Yashoda Devi.
The polls took place following the death of former education minister and JMM MLA Jagarnath Mahto in April. Bebi Devi is the wife of Jagarnath Mahto.
The BJP and the Congress were in a straight contest in Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar. The ruling BJP fielded Parvati Das, the wife of sitting MLA Chandan Das, who passed after reigning in this constituency since 2007.
The Congress’s candidate was Basant Kumar.
North Bengal’s Dhupguri seat has seen a three-pronged contest between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the Congress-supported CPIM.
The bypoll was made necessary because of the death of BJP MLA Bishnupada Roy in July, who defeated the Trinamool in 2021.
The Congress-Left alliance’s candidate was CPI(M)’s Ishwar Chandra Roy, while the ruling Trinamool Congress fielded Nirmal Chandra Roy and the BJP put up the widow of a CRPF jawan, Tapasi Roy.
In Kerala’s Puthuppally, the Congress and the ruling Left – allies in INDIA – have taken on each other.
The seat was held by former Congress chief minister Oommen Chandy who died in July. The Congress-led UDF fielded his son Chandy Oommen.
The ruling Left went with DYFI leader Jaick C. Thomas who had unsuccessfully contested from the seat in 2016 and 2021 against the former chief minister.
The BJP fielded its Kottayam district president G. Lijinlal.
Tuesday’s election saw a moderate to high voter turnout in all seven seats, with Tripura’s Dhanpur clocking the highest at 89%. The state’s Boxanagar saw 84% polling.
Dhupguri and Puthuppally saw 76% and 73% respectively. Nearly 65% turned up in Dumri, while 55.4% in Bageshwar. Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi recorded a moderate 50.30%.
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