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Assembly, Lok Sabha bypolls updates | April 17, 2021

Voters stand in a queue to cast their vote during Madhupur Assembly bypoll, in Deoghar district, Jharkhand on April 17, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Bye-elections to Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency and Karnataka’s Belgaum along with 14 Assembly constituencies spread across Karnataka, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttarakhand were held April 17.

Here are the updates:

Rajasthan bypolls

Rajasthan | 44.89% voter turnout in 3 constituencies

A total of 44.89% voter turnout was registered till 3 p.m. in the bypolls to three Assembly constituencies in Rajasthan.

Polling for the Sahara, Rajsamand and Sujangarh seats began at 7 a.m.

The bye-elections will decide the fate of 27 candidates in the three constituencies where the number of voters is 7,43,802.

A total of 44.89 voter turnout was registered at 3 pm. Sahara (Bhilwara) registered 44.16%, Rajsamand recorded 47.58% and Sujangarh (Churu) recorded a voter turnout of 43.37%, according to an official spokesperson.

Counting of votes will be held on May 2.

The bypolls are being held after the demise of sitting MLAs Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal (Sujangarh), Kailash Trivedi (Sahara) and Kiran Maheshwari (Rajsamand).

Mizoram bypolls

Mizoram | 69.5% voter turnout till 3 p.m. for bypoll to Serchhip seat

An estimated 69.5% of over 19,000 voters exercised their franchise till 3 p.m. on April 17 for by-election to the Serchhip Assembly seat in Mizoram, an official said.

Polling which started at 7 a.m. initially got off to a slow start but picked up around 11 a.m..

Altogether 19,520 voters, including 10,329 women, are eligible to decide the fate of six candidates, including those of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), ZPM and the Congress.

Polling is going on smoothly in all the 29 polling stations, the official said.

Voting will end at 7 p.m., he said. Earlier it was scheduled to be held between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Some political parties had recently appealed to the Election Commission to extend the duration of the polling period after their request of rescheduling the dates of polling and counting, on account of religious obligation, was rejected by the poll panel.

The by-election has been necessitated after the disqualification of incumbent MLA Lalduhoma, in November 2020 under the anti-defection law.

Lalduhoma is now contesting on a ZPM ticket.

Six candidates are in the fray for the by-election.

The MNF has fielded its vice president and former Lok Sabha member Vanlalzawma, while the Congress has nominated former student leader and party general secretary P.C. Laltlansanga.

Maharashtra bypoll

Maharashtra | Over 33% voting recorded till 1 p.m. in Pandharpur bypoll

Over 33% voting was recorded in the by-election to the Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly constituency in Maharashtra' Solapur district till 1 p.m., an official said.

The polling began at 7 a.m. amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in the State and the strict restrictions imposed by the state government to control the spread of the virus.

"The voting percentage was at 33.12% till 1 p.m., and the process at all polling stations in the constituency is going on smoothly in keeping with the social distancing norms," the official from the district administration said.

Hand sanitisers have been kept outside the polling centres and voters are allowed inside only after their body temperature and oxygen level is checked, he said.

The ruling NCP and the opposition BJP are in a direct fight in this bypoll, which was necessitated following the death of NCP legislator Bharat Bhalke due to post-COVID-19 complications in November last year.

The NCP has fielded Bhagirath Bhalke, the late MLA's son, against BJP candidate Samadhan Autade, who had contested the 2019 Assembly elections as an Independent and the 2014 polls on Shiv Sena ticket.

Adequate police bandobast has been put in place to ensure that all social distancing norms are followed, additional superintendent of police Atul Zende said, adding that the polling will conclude at 7 p.m..

According to the district administration, several voters above the age of 80, physically challenged persons and people engaged in essential services had exercised their franchise through postal ballots.

"Polling for these people was held on April 13, 14 and 15 through the postal ballot facility, and a total of 3,252 postal ballots were received," an official from the district administration said.

There are 1,785 physically-challenged voters and 13,689 persons who are above 80 years of age, he said, adding that those who had not exercised their franchise through postal ballots can cast their votes at the polling booths.

There are a total of 3,40,889 registered voters in the constituency.

Political observers feel that this bypoll will prove to be a litmus test for the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies — Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress — three ideologically different parties that have been sharing power in the State for the last one-and-a-half years.

Uttarakhand bypoll

Uttarakhand | 21.47% voter turnout for bypoll to Salt Assembly seat

A voter turnout of 21.47% was recorded till 11 a.m. on Saturday for bypolls to Salt Assembly seat in Uttarakhand's Almora district, an official said.

A total of 21.47% of voters have exercised their franchise in the first four hours of voting, Almora District Magistrate Nitin Singh Bhadauria said.

Polling for the seat began at 7 a.m. and will go on till 5 p.m., he said.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure peacefull polling in the constituency, Bhadauria said.

The bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MLA from the seat Surendra Singh Jeena due to COVID-19 in November last year.

The BJP has fielded his elder brother Mahesh Jeena from the seat against Congress' Ganga Pancholi.

There are 95,241 voters in the Salt Assembly constituency, out of which 48,682 are male and 46,559 female.

Madhya Pradesh bypoll

Madhya Pradesh | 20% voting recorded till 11 a.m. in Da.m.oh Assembly bypoll

Twenty per cent voting was recorded in the by-election to Da.m.oh Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh till 11 a.m., the initial four hours of polling on Saturday, an official said.

The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are locked in a battle in the constituency.

“Twenty per cent voting was recorded at 11 a.m.,” district returning officer Tarun Rathi said.

Polling was going on peacefully amid strict adherence of the COVID-19 guidelines.

People were seen standing in queues outside the polling booths, waiting for their turn to cast vote. White circles were drawn on the ground to ensure that the voters maintain social distancing.

A total of 22 candidates are in the fray, but the main contest is between Rahul Lodhi of the BJP and Ajay Tandon of the Congress.

The bypoll was necessitated as Lodhi, who had won from Damoh on a Congress ticket in 2018, resigned from the Assembly as well as the party in October 2020 and joined the BJP. He had resigned just ahead of the November 3 by-elections to over two dozen seats in the state.

Tandon had earlier contested from the seat twice unsuccessfully against senior BJP leader and former minister Jayant Mallaiya. But now, Lodhi has replaced Mallaiya as the BJP candidate from the seat.

A total of 2,39,709 voters, including 1,15,408 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise at 359 polling booths, the official said.

Voting will end at 7 p.m., he said, adding that the counting of votes will take place on May 2.

The state had witnessed bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in November last year. As many as 25 of these seats fell vacant after their sitting Congress MLAs switched sides and joined the BJP after a revolt led by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Of the 28 seats, the BJP had won 19, while the Congress had bagged nine.

Gujarat bypoll

Gujarat | Over 19% voter turnout till noon in Morva Hadaf Assembly bypoll

A voter turnout of 19.40% was registered till 12 p.m. in the bypoll to Morva Hadaf (ST) Assembly seat of Gujarat's Panchmahal district, officials said.

Of the 2.19 lakh registered voters, 19.40% voters exercised their franchise between 7 am and 12 p.m.. Voting would continue till 6 p.m., a release by the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for Gujarat said.

Voting is currently underway at 329 polling booths in the constituency.

To maintain social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of voters per booth has been capped at 1,000.

The bypoll to Morva Hadaf, an Assembly seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribe candidates, was necessitated after Independent MLA Bhupendrasinh Khant was disqualified in May, 2019 for submitting an invalid caste certificate. He lost an appeal in the Gujarat High Court on the issue. Khant died due to health issues in January this year.

A total of three candidates are in the fray. The ruling BJP has fielded former MLA Nimisha Suthar, who represented this seat from 2013 to 2017, as its candidate. Suthar is fighting the election against the Congress' Suresh Katara.

Both the rivals exercised their franchise in the morning at their respective booths.

Another candidate, Sushilaben Maida, is contesting as an independent.

Counting of votes would begin from 8 a.m. on May 2.

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