Byelections to Lok Sabha, assembly seats before Presidential poll

Election Commission announces byelections in April to three Lok Sabha and 12 assembly seats across several states; vacancies of MPs and MLAs will thus be filled in time for presidential polls in July



Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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PTI

Bypolls to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats will be held on April 9 and 12 respectively, the Election Commission said today while announcing the schedule for byelections to three parliamentary and 12 assembly constituencies.


The assembly bypoll in Radhakrishnan Nagar seat in Tamil Nadu, which fell vacant following the demise of then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, will be held on April 12.


The byelection to the Malappuram Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, which fell vacant following the demise of IUML leader E Ahamed, will also be held on April 12.


Among the 12 assembly seats for which bypoll will be held is Delhi's Rajouri Garden. It fell vacant after Jarnail Singh of AAP decided to contest the Punjab assembly polls held last month. The byelection for the seat is on April 9.


The other assembly seats are: Dhemaji in Assam, Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh, Ater and Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Kanthi Dakshin in West Bengal, Dholpur in Rajasthan, Nanjangud and Gundlupet in Karnataka, Litipara in Jharkhand and Upper Burtuk in Sikkim.



Of the three Lok Sabha seats that are in play, it’s the two in Kashmir which could see a real contest. The Anantnag seat fell vacant in June last after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti won the assembly polls and resigned from the Lok Sabha. The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was vacated by former PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra, who had resigned in protest alleging brutalities on Kashmir protesters. Karra then joined the Congress in late February. Karra, who was congratulated on his new innings by National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, is expected to recontest as the Congress candidate for Srinagar.

The Mufti family may face a tough challenge in their home seat Anantnag, this time around. The byelections will take place against a backdrop of continuing unrest and clashes between protesters and armed forces in the Kashmir Valley; much of the anger could get channeled towards the PDP, which heads the J&K state government in coalition with the BJP. When Mehbooba Mufti stood for the byelection to her father, late J&K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s Anantnag assembly seat, it was said that the NC and Congress, though they put up candidates, did not fight very hard. If that is so, tribute to the late CM has already been paid, and the opposition may not give a free ride to Tassaduq Mufti, Mehbooba’s brother, likely to be the PDP candidate for Anantnag.


Will NC and Congress join hands, leaving Srinagar for Congress and taking on the PDP in Anantnag? A victory in the latter would greatly add to the considerable pressure on the CM. Or will it be a three-way fight once again?

With inputs by NH National Bureau.

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