Balloting for the by-elections in 13 assembly segments in seven states started early Wednesday at 7:00 AM. This electoral event is major since the Lok Sabha will decide the political fates of many big and new faces aspirants, such as Kamlesh Thakur, wife of Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. The eligible constituencies to go for bypolls are Raiganj, Ranaghat Dakshin, Bagda, and Maniktala in West Bengal; Badrinath and Manglaur in Uttarakhand; Jalandhar in West Punjab; Dehra, Hamirpur, and Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh; Rupauli in Bihar; Vikravandi in Tamilnadu and Amarwara in Madhya Pradesh.

It means these bypolls have been occasioned due to the demise or resignations of the holders of the bypolls seats. Key assembly seats and their notable candidates include:

  • West Bengal: Notably, the BJP won three of the four seats that got vacated due to desertion to Trinamool this year. Current TMC members Krishna Kalyani and Mukut Mani Adhikari, who is a former BJP member, are on TMC electoral list.
  • Uttarakhand: In Badrinath, Rajendra Bhandari, former Congress MLA transformed to BJP, is up against Lakhpat Butola of Congress. In Manglaur, a Muslim-majority constituency, Congress’s veteran leader Qazi Nizamuddin is in the electoral fray against BJP’s Kartar Singh Bhadana. This candidate is also very important because, to date, the BJP has never captured the Manglaur constituency.
  • Madhya Pradesh: Out of these, Congress veteran Kamal Nath is resisting the BJP threat in his constituency by bringing forth Kamlesh Shah. At the same time, the Congress has put up a candidate Dheeran Shah Invati, in the tribal-dominated region.

A major event happened when two groups engaged in a confrontation in the Manglaur constituency in Uttarakhand as voting was going on. The Congress candidate from Manglaur, Qazi Nizamuddin, quoted by a news agency, said, “Miscreants openly fired. This is an assault on democracy. There are reports of injuries. But there was no ambulance or any arrangements to transport the injured to the hospital.”

By 9 AM, Amarwara in Madhya Pradesh had recorded the highest voting of 16.90%, followed by Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh by 16.48%, and Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh by 15.71%. The lowest voter turnout by 9 AM has been recorded in Badrinath, which was just 6.50%.

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