Uttar Pradesh by-elections: State set for four-cornered contest after SP-BSP-break up

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Published: June 26, 2019 1:37:38 PM

The Election Commission will conduct byelections for 12 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh after 11 of the seats fell vacant following elections of MLAs to the Lok Sabha. One seat fell vacate due to disqualification of a sitting MLA following conviction in a criminal case.

UP BypollsBypolls will be conducted for a total of 12 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh is heading for mini polls after 11 of its assembly seats fell vacant following the election of MLAs to the Lok Sabha last month. The Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule but political parties have already begun preparations. Elections will be conducted for 12 Assembly seats which include one seat which fell vacate due to disqualification of a sitting MLA following conviction in a criminal case.

Unlike April-May general elections and 2017 Assembly polls when Uttar Pradesh witnessed a triangular contest, the state is gearing up for four-cornered fight this time. In the general elections, the SP-BSP-RLD combine had contested against the Congress and BJP but failed to improve its tally in the Lok Sabha. Congress, on the other hand, drew a blank.

The rival-turned-friend-turned-enemies Samajwadi Party and BSP have now announced that they will not contest elections together, meaning the state parties leaders will be seen going at each other during the bypolls. The decision to dissolve the alliance was announced by BSP supremo Mayawati earlier this week. She blamed Samajwadi Party national president’s behaviour for this decision.

The 2017 assembly polls in the state was also a triangular one with the Samajwadi Party and Congress coming together, hoping the cast matrix of the state’s population will help the alliance gain majority in the Legislative Assembly. The BSP and BJP had contested elections on their own. The BJP pulled off a stunning victory, winning 312 of the 404 seats.

A total of 11 assembly seats fell vacant following elections of MLAs to the Lok Sabha. The seats where bypolls will be held are — Allahabad (Rita Bahuguna Joshi now MP from Lucknow Cantt), Kanpur (Satyadev Pachauri now MP from Govind Nagar), Tundla (SP Singh Baghel now MP from Agra), Manikpur (RK Singh Patel now MP from Banda), Gangoh (Pradeep Chaudhary now MP from Kairana), Balha (Akshaywar Lal Gaud now MP from Bahraich), Zaidpur (Upendra Rawat now MP from Barabanki), Iglas (Rajeev Diler now MP from Hathras), Pratapgarh (Apna Dal leader Sangam Lal Gupta now MP from Pratapgarh), Rampur (Samajwadi Party leader now MP from Rampur) and Jalalpur (BSP leader Ritesh Pandey now MP from Ambedkar Nagar).

Byelection to the Hamirpur assembly seat will be held as it fell vacant due to BJP MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel’s conviction in a murder case.

Exuding confidence that the BJP will sweep the bypolls, UP BJP media coordinator Rakesh Tripathi told PTI that the party had learnt its lessons from previous bypolls defeats. “Irrespective of the fact that elections are four-cornered or multi-cornered, the BJP corner will emerge as the strongest. We have learned our lessons from previous bypoll defeats and the party has already started it poll preparations,” he said.

The BJP had lost the bypolls to Kairana, Goraphkur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats and Noorpur assembly seat to the opposition parting. The outcome of the bypolls had prompted talks of opposition’s alliance in the state to upset the BJP in the general elections. The alliance even materialised but couldn’t deliver the result to the BSP and SP.

“The bypolls will also give an opportunity to the party to increase its tally in the UP Assembly, and win seats of Rampur and Jalalpur, which it had lost in the 2017 assembly polls,” Tripathi added.

The Congress has asserted that the bypolls will throw unexpected results. The party has decided to depute a two-member team to oversee election preparations. UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said that people of the state are fed up with the BJP government and its failure on the law and order front. “The party will contest the bypolls with all its strength, and will definitely increase its tally in the UP Assembly,” he said.

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