All eyes are on four Lok Sabha and 10 assembly seats where bypolls were held on May 28 as counting begins Thursday. The bypolls witnessed campaigns by different political parties and leaders in a manner that was seen by many as desperate attempts to win and increase their chances of winning in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections. High stakes are involved for two national parties – BJP and Congress. Apparently for BJP, to hold the vacated seats was the top most priority. The Congress aggressively campaigned with a hope to increase its tally after it managed to form the government in Karnataka.
The bypolls witnessed allegations by different parties about EVM malfunctioning, with Election Commission denying it and holding that all polls were conducted in free and fair manner and no untoward incident was reported.
Here’s a look at Lok Sabha seats where bypolls were held on May 28 and what is at stake:
1. Kairana– This seat is keenly watched. In a bid to defeat the BJP, opposition parties have joined hands and supported RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan. The seat fell vacant after the demise of veteran MP Hukum Singh. BJP has fielded his daughter Mriganka Singh.
2. Palghar– This Lok Sabha seat of Maharashtra fell vacant after BJP MP Chintaman Vanaga died. The seat has been in news since the Shiv Sena fielded its candidate against partner BJP. Shiv Sena candidate is Chintaman’s son. Allegations and counter-allegations dominated the campaign with BJP deploying heavy weights like UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for garnering votes.
3. Nagaland– The sole Lok Sabha seat of the state. The by poll here was held because the NDPP leader and MP Neiphiu Rio resigned from the Lok Sabha in February to become CM of the state.
4. Gondia-Bhandara– In Maharashtra, by poll in this seat was held due to the resignation of BJP MP Nana Patole. The reason for his resignation is said to be a standoff with Prime Minister Modi.
Here are the assembly seats that went to polls:
Ampati in Meghalaya: Here the Congress has fielded Miani Shira, daughter of Mukul Sangma.
2. Chengannur in Kerala: CPI(M) held this seat earlier and after the demise of sitting MLA Ramachandran Nair, bypoll was necessiated. Bypoll here is seen as a test of Pinarayi Vijayan government’s two years tenure.
3. Shahkot in Punjab fell vacant after the demise of SAD MLA. Now Congress and AAP are trying to grab the seat. AAP being the runner-up in 2017 assembly polls and Congress currently ruling the state, the result of the bypoll will be closely watched.
4. Jokihat in Bihar fell vacant after JD(U) legislator quit the party following Nitish Kumar’s return to NDA, leaving the Mahagathbandhan.
5. Gomia in Jharkhand has witnessed a direct fight between the alliance partner, BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union.
6. Silli, also in Jharkhand has become a prominent seat as the President of All Jharkhand Students Union, Sudesh Mahto, has contested from here.
7. Palus Kadegaon in Maharashtra: Here the ruling BJP has pulled out its candidate. Thus making election a formality for Congress’ candidate.
8. Tharali in Uttrakhand fell vacant after the death of BJP MLA Maganlal Shah.
9. Maheshtala in West Bengal: Here the Congress has extended its support to CPI(M) to defeat the TMC.
10. Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh: sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan’s death necessitating the poll. Here BSP has not fielded its candidate. For BJP the seat is crucial as it has to fight the SP and the chances of BSP votes getting diverted to SP was also apprehended.
While results of all seats will be important for also political parties, but the seats of Kairana (UP), Palghar (Maharashtra) Lok Sabha have attracted special attention due to the high-stake battle between BJP and the opposition.
There are 80 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh. BJP and allies had won 73 seats in 2014 and losing even a single seat before 2019 election would likely affect BJP cadres’ morale. The bypoll became significant after BJP faced brutal defeat in bypolls of Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats.
In Maharashtra there are 48 Lok Sabha Seats in which BJP won 21 in 2014 and ally Shiv Sena 18. BJP is in no mood to reduce the numbers and in Palghar, the fight is direct between Shiv Sena and BJP.