Polling underway for 3 Lok Sabha & 7 Vidhan Sabha seats
Besides these three Lok Sabha seats, seven Assembly seats across Delhi, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura are also going to the polls today
Polling has begun in Rampur and Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, where by-elections are being held on these two constituencies.
Both the seats fell vacant following the resignations of Mohd. Azam Khan and Akhilesh Yadav, both from the Samajwadi Party (SP).
According to Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ajay Kumar Shukla, more than 35 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in Azamgarh and Rampur bypolls to decide the fate of 19 candidates.
There are 13 candidates in the fray from Azamgarh where 18.38 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, while Rampur has six candidates having 17.06 lakh eligible voters.
In Rampur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former SP MLC Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi who recently joined the saffron party, while the SP has nominated Asim Raja, a close associate of Azam Khan.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is not contesting from Rampur.
The Azamgarh seat is witnessing a triangular contest between BJP's Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua', a famous Bhojpuri actor-singer, the SP's Dharmendra Yadav and the BSP's Shah Alam, also known as Guddu Jamali.
The BJP is confident of wresting the Azamgarh seat from the SP while the latter is struggling to retain its bastion.
According to officials, 2,176 booths will be set up at 1,149 polling stations of the constituency where an estimated 15 per cent of the residents are Muslim.
All assembly constituencies -- Azamgarh, Mubarakpur, Sagdi, Gopalpur and Mehnagar -- falling in this Lok Sabha seat were won by the SP in the recent Assembly elections.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there was an alliance between the SP and the BSP, and Akhilesh Yadav had won easily, garnering 6.21 lakh votes against BJP's Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua' who had received 3.61 lakh votes.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and a host of Bhojpuri stars have campaigned for Nirahua.
Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav did not campaign in the bypolls which raised several questions.
The Rampur constituency, which has almost an equal population of Hindus and Muslims voters, is considered a bastion of the SP leader Azam Khan.
Yadav, Sikhs and Dalit voters are also in a position to influence the outcome of the bypoll on the Rampur seat.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Azam Khan had got 5,59,177 votes, whereas BJP candidate Jaya Prada got 4,49,180 votes.
The Rampur parliamentary constituency consists of Assembly constituencies of Rampur, Suar, Chamraua, Bilaspur and Milak.
In the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the SP won the Assembly constituencies of Rampur, Suar and Chamraua, while the BJP won Bilaspur and Milak seats.
On the other hand, amidst the opposition heat over deteriorating law and order situation and the killing of famed singer Sidhu Moosewala, casting of votes for the bypoll of the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in the AAP-ruled Punjab began on Thursday.
The counting of ballots will take place on June 26.
A total of 15,69,240 voters will be exercising their franchise at 1,766 polling booths of which 296 are vulnerable.
The bypoll for AAP-stronghold Sangrur was necessitated following the resignation of Bhagwant Mann, who won the Assembly election in February from Dhuri constituency, and became the Chief Minister.
The AAP has fielded Mann's confidant Gurmail Singh, 38, while death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana's foster sister Kamaldeep Kaur, 44, is in the fray on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ticket.
The other key contenders are BJP's Kewal Dhillon, 72, and Dalvir Singh Goldy, 40, of the Congress. Both are former legislators.
Mann had won his first election as Sangrur MP in 2014 with a record margin of over 2.10 lakh votes defeating SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
In 2019 Mann was the lone AAP MP in Parliament and he had defeated the then Congress candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon by more than 1.1 lakh votes.
In the 2022 Assembly elections, AAP recorded a thumping win by claiming 92 of the Assembly's 117 seats. The ruling Congress won 18, down from 77 in 2017.
Interestingly, all nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies coming under Sangrur parliamentary seat was won by AAP MLAs with a record mandate.
Besides these three Lok Sabha seats, seven Assembly seats across Delhi, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura are also going to the polls today.
According to Hindustan Times, 3 seats are going to the polls in Tripura- Town Bordowali (where the CM Manik Saha is contesting against Asish Kumar Saha of the Congress party), Agartala (where Congress's Sudip Roy Barman is fighting against BJP’s Dr Ashok Sinha and CPM’s Krishna Majumder) and Jabarajnagar.
One seat got vacated in Andhra Pradesh's Atmakur, "after MLA Mekapati Goutham Reddy died", HT wrote. YSR Congress's Vikram Reddy will compete against BJP's G Bharat Kumar Yadav for this seat.
Delhi's Rajinder Nagar seat was also vacated after the AAP nominated Raghav Chadha to the Rajya Sabha, who was then elected for it. Here, AAP's Durgesh Pathak is contesting against BJP's Rajesh Bhatia and Congress’s Prem Lata.
And finally in Mandar, Jharkhand, Congress's Shilpi Neha is contesting against BJP's Gangotri Kujur for the seat which fell vacant after "Bandhu Tirkey was convicted in a disproportionate assets case", wrote HT.
(With inputs from IANS)
Published: 23 Jun 2022, 8:37 AM