Peaceful polling at 3 LS, 29 Assembly bypolls

The counting of votes to all the seats will take place on November 2.

October 30, 2021 11:21 pm | Updated October 31, 2021 01:24 am IST - New Delhi

A health worker distributes disposable gloves to voters before casting vote during bypolls to the Mariani Constituency in Jorhat on October 30, 2021.

A health worker distributes disposable gloves to voters before casting vote during bypolls to the Mariani Constituency in Jorhat on October 30, 2021.

A turnout of between 50% to over 81% was recorded on Saturday in byelections to three Lok Sabha seats and 29 Assembly seats spread across 13 States and one Union Territory. The Congress’s Pratibha Singh, wife of the late Virbhadra Singh, former Chief Minister, and Abhay Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are among the prominent candidates in the fray.

Officials said polling in all the States was peaceful and held under the COVID-19 protocol. Ellenabad in Haryana recorded 81% polling.

Also read: Bypolls: a test for Congress’ bid to bounce back in northeast

The counting of votes to all the seats will take place on November 2.

Byelections were held to three Lok Sabha seats — Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh — on Saturday in addition to 29 Assembly seats across 13 States.

Also read: MP bypolls: Over 64% turnout in bypolls to three Assembly segments, 63.88% in Khandwa LS seat

Dadra and Nagar Haveli recorded a 75.51% turnout as the voting concluded at 7 p.m., Election Commission officials said. Election to the seat was necessitated after the death of seven-time Independent MP Mohan Delkar whose wife Kalaben Delkar is contesting from the Shiv Sena against the BJP’s Mahesh Gavit and the Congress’s Mahesh Dhodi.

The Mandi Lok Sabha seat , where the Congress candidate is pitted against a Kargril war hero and BJP candidate, Khushal Singh Thakur, registered a relatively lower turnout of 49.83% till 5 p.m. The seat fell vacant after the death of Ramswaroop Sharma (BJP) in March. Independent India’s first voter, 104-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, was among those who cast their votes in the bypoll for the Mandi seat.

Besides the Lok Sabha seats, bypolls were held in three Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh, five Assembly seats in Assam, four in West Bengal, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya, two each in Bihar, Karnataka and Rajasthan and one seat each in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram and Telangana.

Out of these, the BJP was holding around half a dozen seats, the Congress had nine, while the rest were with the regional parties.

Among the Assembly seats, the Ellenabad Assembly constituency in Haryana is a keenly followed contest as INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala seeks re-election after resigning from the seat this year to protest against the Centre's farm laws.

The byelections to nine Assembly seats in three north-eastern States on Saturday saw a high turnout. Deaths of the sitting MLAs or their defection to the BJP forced bypolls to five seats in Assam, three in Meghalaya and one in Mizoram.

Election officials in Assam said over 70% cast their votes by 5 p.m. in the Bhabanipur, Gossaigaon, Mariani, Tamulpur and Thowra seats. “The percentage is expected to increase after inputs from all polling stations come,” the State’s chief electoral officer, Nitin Khade said.

The average voting percentage in Mawphlang, Mawryngkneng and Rajabala constituencies in Meghalaya was 78.79% and in Mizoram’s Tuirial seat was 78.49%. These are not the final figures, officials in the two States said.

The Assam unit of the BJP and its regional ally, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), were confident of sweeping the five seats.

The BJP had fielded three defectors — Rupjyoti Kurmi from Mariani, Sushanta Borgohain from Thowra and Phanidhar Talukdar from Bhabanipur. The first two had defected from Congress and the third from the All India United Democratic Front. Candidates of the UPPL contested from Gossaigaon and Tamulpur in the Bodoland Territorial Region.

The Congress, which contested all the nine seats in the region, hoped to consolidate its position besides retaining the Mawryngkneng and Rajabala seats.

The Congress also hoped to wrest the Tuirial seat from the Zoram People’s Movement, whose candidate had won in the 2018 elections.

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