Maharashtra, Haryana Assembly elections live | 63% voting in Maharashtra, 62% in Haryana

The booth in Dahiwali village in the Karmala assembly segment where a scuffle erupted between VBA and NCP activists.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In the first major elections after the BJP retained power in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May winning 303 seats out of 543, voting to 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra, 90 Assembly seats in Haryana, and bypolls to two Lok Sabha constituencies and 51 Assembly seats spread across 18 States began at 7 a.m.

Bypolls

StateNo. of Assemby seats
Uttar Pradesh11
Gujarat6
Bihar, Kerala5
Punjab, Assam4
Sikkim3
Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan2
Telangana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry1

 

Here are the latest updates:

 

8.00 p.m.

Voter turnout

State

Estimated Turnout

Haryana63.55%
Maharashtra56.65%

Bypoll

 
Arunachal Pradesh90.74%
Assam75.69%
Bihar49.50%
Gujarat51.36%
Himachal Pradesh67.97%
Kerala66.34%
Madhya Pradesh62.01%
Meghalaya84.56%
Odisha78.96%
Punjab62.33%
Rajasthan65.95%
Sikkim69.55%
Tamil Nadu68.87%
Uttar Pradesh46.66%
Chhattisgarh74.84%
Telangana82.23%
Puducherry69.44%
Bihar (Parliamentary constituency)44.64%
Maharashtra (Parliamentary constituency)60.75%

 

6.35 p.m. | Haryana

Haryana records 62% turnout

Haryana recorded a turnout of 62% at the close of polling for 90 constituencies in the assembly elections on Monday, officials said.

Polling that began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm was largely peaceful, barring one violent incident in Nuh, officials said.

According to the Election Commission 62% of the registered voters had exercised their franchise by 6 pm, when polls closed.

However, people who had entered the polling booths before the stipulated closing time will be allowed to cast their vote, officials said. The figure of 62% turnout is provisional, and may rise slightly. The final figure will be available when the data is tabulated, officials said.

The Haryana voting percentage was 76.54% in the 2014 assembly elections and 70.36 in this year’s Lok Sabha elections.

The Election Commission said 1,169 candidates, including 105 women, contested this election.

The BJP led by Chief Minister M L Khattar is aiming to retain power in Haryana, and had set a target of winning 75 seats.

Currently, the BJP has 48 members in the State Assembly. Haryana’s Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal said 19,578 polling stations were set up, 13,837 of them in rural areas.

Tight security arrangements were in place with over 75,000 security personnel deployed for the polls, DGP Manoj Yadava said earlier.

Over 1.83 crore voters, including 85 lakh women, were eligible to vote. The figure includes over one lakh service voters and 252 transgender people.

6.25 p.m. | Maharashtra

63% voting in Maha Assembly poll; turnout similar to 2014

Maharashtra Assembly elections held on Monday saw a voter turnout of around 63 per cent, almost matching the 63.38 per cent polling recorded in the the last state elections in 2014.

Rural areas of the state fared better, with voters there showing more enthusiasm than their urban counterparts.

Polling began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm. Altogether 54.53 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 5 pm, a poll official said.

A galaxy of bigwigs from politics, Bollywood and India Inc joined the young and the old in exercising their franchise in this festival of democracy.

Prominent voters included RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, CM Devendra Fadnavis, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, former President Pratibha Patil and MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

From Shah Rukh Khan to Salman Khan, from Kareena Kapoor Khan to Deepika Padukone, Mumbai’s polling booths witnessed several Bollywood celebrities who came out to vote.

Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Lara Dutta were among the tinsel town figures who exercised their franchise.

Actor Riteish Deshmukh and wife Genelia cast their vote in Latur district, where Amit and Dheeraj, brothers of Ritesh and sons of former CM late Vilasrao Deshmukh, are contesting as Congress candidates.

A nonagenarian was the cynosure of all eyes as he accompanied Union minister Smriti Irani outside a polling booth in Mumbai. “Today’s hero is Khanna sahab, who served in the Army. At 93, he came out to vote. It is an inspiration,” Irani said.

In Pune, A 102-year-old man, suffering from a heart ailment, went straight to a polling booth to cast his vote after being discharged from a hospital.

6.00 p.m. | Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

T.N. Congress MP Vasanthakumar detained for ‘staying’ in bypoll constituency

Congress MP H. Vasanthakumar was detained for allegedly staying in Nanguneri Assembly constituency where a bypoll is underway, police said.

Though Mr. Vasanthakumar, whose resignation on his election to Lok Sabha necessitated the bypoll, claimed he was on his way to his home in nearby Palayamkottai, police said he was detained at a place where the MP need not have to go for reaching his destination.

There may be some hidden agenda for him to have chosen this route, police said, adding the MP had been brought to the police station in Nanguneri.

Officials said as per election code leaders and workers of political parties other than those residing in the district should not stay in the constituency on the election day.

They also said a case would be registered against Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri for staying in Nanguneri and conducting a press meet at Reddiyarpatti violating the code of conduct.

In a tweet, Mr. Vasanthkumar said he was detained while proceeding to his house in Palayamkottai and asked should he need permission to visit his home.

5.15 p.m. | Maharashtra

Senior citizen dies at polling booth in Bhosari Assembly segment

A senior citizen, who was standing in the queue at a polling booth in the Bhosari assembly segment to cast his vote, collapsed and died on Monday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Abdul Rahim Shaikh (in his early sixties), a resident of Bhosari's Shantinagar area, said police officials.

"He, along with his wife, had come to cast his vote at one of the polling stations in Bhosari. While standing in the queue, Shaikh fainted and was taken home by family members and others," said a senior official attached to the Bhosari police station.

The elderly man was later taken to a local hospital where he died at around 11.30 a.m., he said.

"According to medical reports, he died of brain hemorrhage [bleeding] in the hospital," the official said. 

5 p.m.

Voter turnout at 5 p.m.

State

Estimated Turnout

Haryana53.36%
Maharashtra44.49%

Bypoll

 
Arunachal Pradesh89.27%
Assam66.30%
Bihar41.82%
Gujarat40.28%
Himachal Pradesh55.62%
Kerala54.08%
Madhya Pradesh56.62%
Meghalaya64.13%
Odisha56.50%
Punjab51.38%
Rajasthan52.67%
Sikkim62.00%
Tamil Nadu58.51%
Uttar Pradesh37.72%
Chhattisgarh64.14%
Telangana69.95%
Puducherry56.16%
Bihar (Parliamentary constituency)40.56%
Maharashtra (Parliamentary constituency)48.40%

 

3.30 p.m.  | Maharashtra

Villagers reached the polling station using a chain of tractor trolleys set up with the help of polling staff, at Kambleshwar village, about 30 km from Baramati in Pune rural.

3.15 p.m. | Maharashtra

1,600 project-affected persons in Mahul unable to vote again

For the second time, around 1,600 project-affected persons (PAP) in Mahul, which is surrounded by chemical factories, are not able to vote.

It was the situation during the Lok Sabha elections and again now during the Maharashtra Assembly. “It really pains us. Our names were removed from the voter list when we started protesting and demanding to be shifted out and rehabilitated from this hell hole,” said Anita Dhole, a resident.

“It really pinches to not be able to exercise our constitutional right in democracy. Times are such that those who promised us vikas (development) have only brought vinaash (destruction),” Ms. Dhole said.

Read more
 

1.50 p.m. | Maharashtra

Vanchit Bahujan Angadi candidate allegedly attacked at polling booth

In a case of poll-related violence, Atul Khupse, the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) candidate for the Karmala Assembly segment in Solapur, has alleged assault by NCP activists and supporters of Sanjay Shinde, the NCP-backed Independent candidate for the same seat.

According to sources, the scuffle between the VBA candidate and his supporters and the NCP supporters of Mr. Shinde broke out at a polling booth in Dahiwali village in Madha tehsil (part of the Karmala Assembly segment). Mr. Khupse, his wife and some of his supporters were injured in the alleged attack and are undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.

Read more
 

1.45 p.m.

Voter turnout at 1 p.m.

State

Estimated Turnout

Haryana36.87%
Maharashtra30.07%

Bypoll

 
Arunachal Pradesh61%
Assam50.30%
Bihar28.54%
Gujarat27.59%
Himachal Pradesh40.47%
Kerala38.50%
Madhya Pradesh47.60%
Meghalaya44.02%
Odisha37.10%
Punjab37.36%
Rajasthan39.46%
Sikkim46.30%
Tamil Nadu47.31%
Uttar Pradesh28.79%
Chhattisgarh49.63%
Telangana52.89%
Puducherry42.71%
Bihar (Parliamentary constituency)29.09%
Maharashtra (Parliamentary constituency)35.16%

 

1.30 p.m. | Haryana

Haryana records 22% voter turnout at 11 a.m.

As voting for the 90 assembly constituencies in Haryana began on Monday, around 22.4% voter turnout was registered in the State till 11 a.m., said an official.

A poll official applies indelible ink on the finger of a woman voter during Haryana Assembly elections at Gadhi Gujran polling booth near Indri in Karnal district on Monday, October 21, 2019.

A poll official applies indelible ink on the finger of a woman voter during Haryana Assembly elections at Gadhi Gujran polling booth near Indri in Karnal district on Monday, October 21, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

 

Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal told reporters that said the polling, which started at 7 AM had been peaceful so far with voter turnout registered at 22.4%.

“So far the Fatehnabad district has seen the maximum turnout at 27.12%,” he said, adding that EVM were replaced at few places after reports of malfunctioning were received. Nowhere the polling was disrupted,” he said.

Read more
 

1 p.m. | Maharashtra

A power cut has affected voting at a polling booth in the Shivajinagar Assembly segment for the past hour. Five persons with allegedly bogus identification papers have been taken into custody by the Pimpri police when they tried to cast their votes at a booth in the Pimpri Assembly segment.

12.15 p.m. | Haryana

Rahul Gandhi tweets video of BJP Haryana MLA’s claim on ‘EVM tampering’

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday tweeted a short video clip of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker making a sensational claim that irrespective of which button a voter presses in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), the vote will be cast in favour of the BJP.

The MLA, Bakshish Singh Virk, was addressing a meeting in Haryana and represents Assandh constituency in the Assembly.

“The most honest man in the BJP,” tweeted Mr. Gandhi with the video that had a graphic headline saying ‘BJP MLA threatens voters’.

Read more
 

12 noon | Kerala

Moderate polling in Aroor by-election

Incessant rains on Monday morning failed to dampen the spirit of voters in the Aroor Assembly constituency in Kerala. The constituency registered 24.68% voting till 11. a.m.  47,371 voters, including 21,705 females and 25,666 males exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling.

Although the voting got off to a slow start, it picked up momentum afterwards. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) developed snags in a few booths, but they were promptly replaced.

11: 00 am

Voter turnout at 11 am

State

Estimated Turnout

Haryana17.13%
Maharashtra8.14%

Bypoll

 
Arunachal Pradesh24.00%
Assam31.19%
Bihar15.95%
Gujarat8.23%
Himachal Pradesh7.86%
Kerala15.58%
Madhya Pradesh24.76%
Meghalaya16.63%
Odisha25.70%
Punjab23.58%
Rajasthan14.53%
Sikkim27.23%
Tamil Nadu24.98%
Uttar Pradesh18.71%
Chhattisgarh28.78%
Telangana31.34%
Puducherry11.60%
Bihar (Parliamentary constituency)16.95%
Maharashtra (Parliamentary constituency)6.85%

 

10: 00 am | Puducherry

10% polling in Puducherry so far

Voters standing in queues at a polling station in Vikravandi in Villupuram district on October 21, 2019

Voters standing in queues at a polling station in Vikravandi in Villupuram district on October 21, 2019   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

 

Nearly 10% polling was witnessed in the first two-and-a-half hours of byelection to the Kamaraj Nagar constituency in the Union Territory of Puducherry on Monday.

Though the region experienced intermittent showers when the polling started at 7 am, people kept coming to the booths in small numbers. But as the rain stopped by around 8.30 am, people started gathering in large numbers.

Read more

9: 30 am | Maharashtra

Morshi-Varud Assembly candidate attacked

Opposition candidate Devendra Bhuyar's car was attacked by unknown miscreants on October 21, 2019

Opposition candidate Devendra Bhuyar's car was attacked by unknown miscreants on October 21, 2019   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Morshi-Warud Assembly seat (Amravati district) candidate Devendra Bhuyar was attacked by unknown miscreants on the polling day. Devendra Bhuyar is an opposition candidate from Raju Shetti's Swabhimani Party and is contesting in the seat against agriculture minister Anil Bonde of the BJP.

"Our candidate Devendra Bhuyar had complained of money distribution in the constituency, but police neglected it..He along with other workers were patrolling the area since night and today at 5.30 a.m., while his car was 1 km away from Varud town, he was attacked," said former MP and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna President Raju Shetti. "Around 5 to 6 masked miscreants gun fired at him and then beat all three in the car. Hearing gun shots locals approached as a result miscreants ran away after setting Devendra Bhuyar's vehicle on fire. He has been taken to local hospital and then to Amravati for treatment."

Raju Shetti alleged total negligence from police and administration in providing security to opposition candidate in a sensitive Assembly seat.

9: 00 am | Kerala

Slow polling in Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram

Voting for the by-election to the Aroor Assembly constituency began at 7 a.m. The polling started on a dull note due to heavy downpour. 4.94% of voters exercised their franchise by 8 a.m. in Aroor. Meanwhile, polling was suspended briefly in six places after Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) developed glitches in as many as six booths. A total of 1,91,898 voters including 97,745 females and 94,153 males will decide the fate of six candidates in the fray in the byelection. The main candidates are Manu C. Pulickal of the CPI (M), Shanimol Usman (Congress) and K. P. Prakash Babu (BJP). The other three candidates contesting the bypoll are Geetha Ashokan, Alleppey Sugunan and K. B. Sunil Kumar.

Voting is yet to pick up pace in the Vattiyurkavu Assembly constituency in Thiruvananthapuram. The poll percentage stood at 4.99% at 8.30 a.m. by when 9868 voters cast their votes. While no technical glitches have been reported in Vattiyurkavu, but most stations have been witnessing low turnouts on account of the heavy downpour. No major incidents of water-logging have been reported within the constituency limits. There are 168 polling booths in the constituency.

(Staff Reporters)

8: 30 am | Ernakulam, Kerala

Power failure disrupts voting

Voters wading through the waterlogged areas of Khatari Bagh in Wellingdon Island to exercise their franchise on October 21, 2019

Voters wading through the waterlogged areas of Khatari Bagh in Wellingdon Island to exercise their franchise on October 21, 2019   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

 

After being disrupted for one hour, polling began in the four booths that were relocated to a new block in the Kendriya Vidyalaya of Khatari Bagh in Wellingdon Island in Ernakulam Assembly constituency. The polling was disrupted following the power failure and the shifting of the booths from the water logged areas. Voters began arriving to the polling stations as the weather situation improved. However, the heavy showers flooded most of the low-lying areas of the city including many parts of the Constituency.

The polling in booth numbers 132, 133, 134 and 135, was stopped following power failure. Flooding in the nearby power station was blamed for the power outage. The pathway to the booth was flooded and one had to wade through the water to get to the polling station.

The polling agents of the candidates demanded extra time for polling as the poll process was disrupted.

(K.S. Sudhi)

7: 50 am | Maharashtra

Senior NCP leader and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, his party's candidate for the Baramati Assembly segment, casts his vote along with his family in Katewadi in Baramati - the bastion of the Pawar clan.

Mr Pawar, who has been Baramati's legislator since 1991, is seeking re-election for the seventh straight time. He is pitted against the BJP's Gopichand Padalkar, an influential Dhangar community leader.

'The people of Baramati have always reposed their trust in the Pawar family... this time,the election campaign saw a healthy participation of youths,' said Sunetra Pawar, Mr Pawar's wife, expressing confidence that her husband would win by a large margin. Ms. Pawar, who was in charge of her husband's campaign in Baramati, further said that rain would not prove a major deterrent for enthusiastic voters.

7: 20 am | Maharashtra

Satara byelection

BJP candidate Udayanraje Bhosale, a direct descendant of the Maratha warrior King Shivaji was one of the early voters. "Development works in Satara that have been hanging fire for the past five years will now see the light of day," Mr. Bhosale said, after casting his vote.

The Satara royal is pitted against the NCP's Shriniwas Patil, a former Governor of Sikkim and a close aide of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The crucial bypoll, which is being held along with the Maharashtra Assembly election,was necessitated after Mr Bhosale, who won the constituency on an NCP ticket, recently switched alliances to join the BJP.

(Shoumojit Banerjee)

7: 00 am | Vikravandi, Tamil Nadu

Polling for the bypoll to  all the 275 polling booths in Vikravandi Assembly constituency began at 7 a.m here on Monday. Brisk polling was reported with people turning up in large numbers to cast their votes.

A total of 12 candidates including M.R. Muthamizhselvan of the ruling AIADMK and N. Pugazhenthi of the DMK are in the fray.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of sitting MLA K. Radhamani of the DMK. The AIADMK candidate Muthamizhselvan exercised his franchise at a polling booth at Kalpattu in Kanai block at 7.20 a.m.

AIADMK candidate for Vikravandi by-poll M.R. Muthamizhselvan waiting in a queue to cast his vote at a polling booth at Kalpattu in Vikravandi in Villupuram on October 21, 2019.

AIADMK candidate for Vikravandi by-poll M.R. Muthamizhselvan waiting in a queue to cast his vote at a polling booth at Kalpattu in Vikravandi in Villupuram on October 21, 2019.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar



A total of 2,23,387 voters including 1,11,607 men, 1,11,546 women, 209 service electors and 25 transgender’s are expected to exercise their franchise. As many as 24 out of the total 275 booths in the constituency have been classified as vulnerable and critical.

7: 00 am |  Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu

Live webcasting for bypolls

People waiting in a queue to cast their votes at a polling booth in Vikravandi assembly constituency at Kanai in Villupuram district on October 21, 2019

People waiting in a queue to cast their votes at a polling booth in Vikravandi assembly constituency at Kanai in Villupuram district on October 21, 2019   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

 

A total of 574 polling stations in the Nanguneri and Vikravandi Assembly constituencies, where byelections will be held today, will have live streaming of the electoral process, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said on Sunday. Security had been tightened in the booths deemed vulnerable, the CEO said.

The Vikravandi constituency in Villupuram district has 275 polling stations, while the Nanguneri constituency in Tirunelveli district has 299. In Vikravandi, 18 polling stations have been identified as critical, while 32 are said to be vulnerable. In Nanguneri, 110 polling stations have been deemed vulnerable.

6: 50 am | Kochi, Kerala

Heavy morning showers may hit polling

With a few minutes left for the polling to begin in Ernakulam Assembly constituency, the heavy rain that is lashing the city has raised concerns about the voter turn out. The rain, which began during the early hours of the day, gathered strength as  political party leaders and workers prepared themselves for the crucial day. The heavy downpour, it is feared, may deter the voters from coming to the polling stations. A large number of voters including the casual workers and those employed in the private sector, are expected to come to the polling stations during the morning hours to exercise their franchise. Water logging has hit the pedestrian movement along the streets in most parts of the constituency.

(K.S. Sudhi)

 

In Maharashtra, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance is making a determined bid to recapture power for a second consecutive term, and the Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine is leaving no stone unturned to return to power after remaining in the political wilderness for five years. With a staggering 3,237 candidates in the fray from among a host of different parties, the contests for the 288 seats promises to be an all-out political war, especially among a few key seats.

Read more

 

Polling officials sealing an EVM before the process of poll begins at Dhurkada polling station of Ambala in Haryana on October 21, 2019. Polling is taking place to elect 90 member assembly members in state.

Polling officials sealing an EVM before the process of poll begins at Dhurkada polling station of Ambala in Haryana on October 21, 2019. Polling is taking place to elect 90 member assembly members in state.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

 

In Haryana, the ruling BJP is locked in a tight contest with the Opposition Congress and the fledgling JJP for the 90 Assembly seats that will go to polls in Haryana. While the Congress is hoping to make a comeback following the change in guard in the State, the BJP has set a target to bag at least 75 seats in the contest in which 1,169 candidates of various political outfits are in the fray.

Read more
 

Counting of votes will be on October 24.

 

Maharashtra votes to choose an alliance

Polling will be held on Monday in all 288 Assembly constituencies of Maharashtra where 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are in the fray.

Prominent candidates include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South-West, and his predecessors from the Congress — Ashok Chavan, who is contesting from Bhokar in Nanded district, and Prithviraj Chavan, who is seeking a re-election from Karad South in Satara district.

The BJP, under Mr. Fadnavis’ leadership, is seeking a second straight term in the State.

Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, has also entered the poll fray from Worli constituency in Mumbai.

The 29-year-old Yuva Sena chief is the first leader from his family to make a debut in electoral politics.

Read more
 

 

Congress, JJP give a tough fight to BJP in Haryana

As Haryana votes, the ruling BJP is clearly ahead of its rivals in the perception battle, though the Congress and the newly floated Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) are not out of the reckoning after a high-pitched campaign. 

While the BJP’s campaign, focused on national security and nationalism, saw a galaxy of leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the campaign trail, the Congress’s senior central leadership largely kept away.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi addressed two rallies but other prominent faces were missing. 

Read more

 

Bypolls to 51 Assembly, two Lok Sabha seats

Campaigning ended on Saturday for October 21 bypolls to 51 Assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 States.

The BJP and its allies, which had nearly 30 of these Assembly seats, are hoping that the winning momentum of Lok Sabha polls will continue. The Congress had won 12 of the seats while the rest were with regional parties.

Among the States ruled by the BJP and its allies, the maximum 11 seats will have bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, followed by six in Gujarat, five in Bihar, four in Assam and two each in Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Read: In Iglas, sections of Jats back BSP candidate

The other States where bypolls will be held are Punjab (4 seats), Kerala (5 seats), Sikkim (3 seats), Rajasthan (two seats) and one seat each in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Meghalaya and Telangana.

Campaigning also concluded for bypolls to Satara (Maharashtra) and Samastipur (Bihar) Lok Sabha seats, which were held by the NCP and the LJP respectively.

The exercise is coinciding with Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the first major elections after the BJP retained power in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May winning 303 seats out of 543.

In politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, the polls are seen as a litmus test for the Yogi Adityanath government which has completed 30 months in office.

It is a four-cornered contest with the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress fielding candidates on all 11 Assembly seats.

Eight of these seats were held earlier by the BJP and one by BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). The seats of Rampur and Jalalpur (Ambedkarnagar) were held by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively

In Gujarat, the BJP has fielded former Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala from Radhanpur and Bayad respectively.

The Congress is hoping to consolidate its thin majority in Rajasthan by wresting the two seats from the BJP and its ally RLP. Of the 200 Assembly seats in Rajasthan, the Congress has 106 MLAs, including the six who defected to the party from the BSP recently

In Bihar, the JD(U) had won four seats while one was with Congress. Assembly elections are due next year in the State and the bypolls could be seen as a vote on the performance of Nitish Kumar Government.

Campaigning in Kerala, where bypolls will be held for five seats, saw the Sabarimala women entry issue, the marks row controversy against Higher Education minister K.T. Jaleel and the alleged “unkept” promises by the ruling LDF being raised by the UDF and the BJP.

In the recent Lok Sabha polls, post-Sabarimala agitation, the Left front had suffered a massive drubbing, losing 19 of the total 20 seats to the Congress-led UDF.

Three of the Assembly seats where bypolls are being held were with the Congress.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh exuded confidence that the Congress would register a “clean sweep” in all the four Assembly segments in the bypolls in the State.

Out of the four, the BJP, Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress had one seat each.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and his Deputy O. Panneerselvam led the AIADMK campaign in Vikravandi and Nanguneri Assembly seats.

They appealed to the voters to cast their ballots in favour of the candidates and shun the “violent mob”, an apparent accusation against the DMK.

Seeking support for his party’s candidate, DMK leader Stalin dubbed the AIADMK government as a “servile regime which was always ready to execute any and all the diktats of the Centre“.

Campaigning was low-key in the four seats in Assam with State leaders addressing meetings along with the candidates in the respective constituencies

Three of the seats were with the BJP and one with the Congress.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang is contesting from Poklok Kamrang constituency, one of the three seats where bypolls will be held in the State.

Tamang aka Golay is the president of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), which has tied up with the BJP.

Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia is contesting from Gangtok on Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) ticket.

 

A promise for farmers

The state of the economy does not dominate the campaign scene in Maharashtra and Haryana, two industrialised States of India. Both the States have strong agriculture sectors too. Rhetoric on Pakistan and the abrogation of the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir meanwhile top the campaign agenda that the BJP sets. The Opposition has not been able to change this agenda.

The farm sector is in distress and here is what was offered as relief: “The water which belongs to India was allowed to flow to Pakistan for 70 years...this will not happen now. We will divert the water which belongs to India, it will be given to the farmers of Haryana, water should be given to the farmers of Rajasthan,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a rally in Haryana this week. “Modi will fight your battle,” he said.

Read more

 

BJP to push for a strong base in rural Maharashtra

The BJP will be unveiling its manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly polls on Tuesday, and has already indicated that it would put forward a plan for water conservation for a “drought-free Maharashtra” as part of the document.

Senior sources in the BJP had admitted that the party’s biggest support base is in the urban Maharashtra, but that the emphasis on the rural areas is for particular reasons.

Read more

(With inputs from Our Correspondents and Agencies)

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