Bypolls peaceful, results on September 8

Voting for several high profile electoral battles concluded today in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Tripura and Uttarakhand

September 05, 2023 11:09 pm | Updated October 01, 2023 12:50 am IST - New Delhi/ Patna/ Lucknow/ Kottayam

Voters show their IDs as they wait to cast their votes for the Ghosi assembly by-election, in Ghoshi, on September 5, 2023.

Voters show their IDs as they wait to cast their votes for the Ghosi assembly by-election, in Ghoshi, on September 5, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Bypolls to various Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Tripura and Uttarakhand were held by and large peacefully on Tuesday. Election Commission of India (ECI) officials said no major untoward incidents were reported from the constituencies where polls were held. The counting of votes is scheduled on September 8.

Voting for the Ghosi Assembly bypoll in Uttar Pradesh ended amid allegations by the Samajwadi Party (SP) that the ruling BJP had misused administrative machinery. At 5 p.m., the EC recorded more than 49% polling. The high stakes bypoll is the first electoral contest in U.P. after the formation of the Opposition Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc. The BJP refuted the charges made by the SP, and said the Opposition had already accepted defeat.

The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Dara Singh Chauhan, who had won the seat in the 2022 polls from the SP but joined the BJP recently. SP candidate Sudhakar Singh is fighting against Mr. Chauhan. Mr. Chauhan, an Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader, is banking upon OBC-Scheduled Caste (SC) unity to sail him through.

The Ghosi bypoll is also considered crucial in view of the changing political dynamic in the State, with the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), a Rajbhar OBC-centric party joining hands with the BJP, and amid talks of more MLAs of the SP being in touch with the BJP.

The byelection to the Dumri Assembly seat in Jharkhand was also conducted peacefully, according to Chief Electoral Officer K. Ravi Kumar. Till 5 p.m., 63.75% of 2.28 lakh voters had exercised their franchise, Mr. Kumar said. However, the final report was expected late on Tuesday evening. While speaking to the media in Ranchi, Mr. Kumar said that polling at all 373 booths had been conducted peacefully.

The poll was necessitated after the death of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA and former Education Minister Jagarnath Mahto. The JMM has fielded Mahto’s wife Bebi Devi as the nominee of INDIA grouping, while the All Jharkhand Student’s Union (AJSU) has fielded Yashoda Devi as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate.

The byelection in the Puthuppally Assembly constituency, where the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) are locked in a pitched battle, registered a rather moderate voter turnout on Tuesday. According to the provisional estimates released by the district election authority, the segment recorded a polling percentage of 72.91%. The final polling figure, however, will be released only later.

In the 2021 election, the voter turnout was 74.9%, while it was 77.4% in 2016. Of the total 1,76,417 voters in the constituency, 1,28,624 voters exercised their voting rights, of which 64,084 were male and 64,538 were female.

Among those who cast the vote in the first few hours were LDF candidate Jaick C. Thomas, UDF candidate Chandy Oommen, and Cooperation Minister V.N. Vasavan. A native of Kaduthuruthy, NDA candidate G. Lijin Lal did not have a vote in Puthuppally. The byelection was necessitated by the demise of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on July 18 .

More than 55% of the electorate cast their votes to seal the fate of the five candidates in the fray for the Bageshwar Assembly bypoll in Uttarakhand. Till 5 p.m., 55.42% voting was recorded, Bageshwar District Magistrate Anuradha Paul told the Press Trust of India. The BJP has fielded Parvati Das against Congress candidate Basant Kumar. Ms. Das is the wife of Chandan Ram Das, whose death in April this year necessitated the bypoll. Das had won from the seat four times since 2007.

Around 76% of 2.6 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the byelection to the Dhupguri Assembly seat in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district till 5 p.m. on Tuesday, an official said. The Communist Party of India-Marxist’s (CPI-M) Ishwar Chandra Roy is contesting as the candidate of the Congress-Left alliance, while the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has fielded Nirmal Chandra Roy, a teacher by profession. The BJP has nominated Tapasi Roy, the widow of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan who died fighting terrorists in Kashmir a few years ago. The bypoll to the seat was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Bishu Pada Ray earlier this year.

An average voter turnout of 76% was recorded till 3 p.m. of polling in the byelections to Dhanpur and Boxanagar Assembly seats in Tripura’s Sepahijala district on Tuesday, an official said. Voting began at 7 a.m. in 59 booths in the Dhanpur Assembly constituency, and 51 booths in Boxanagar, and was scheduled to continue till 4 p.m.

Police said six persons were injured when they were allegedly attacked by some villagers at Mohanbhog in Dhanpur Assembly constituency. The byelection to the Boxanagar constituency was necessitated by the death of CPI(M) MLA Samsul Haque. Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik’s resignation as the MLA of Dhanpur necessitated the byelection to that seat.

CPI(M) alleges Tripura byelections were rigged, demands repoll

Stray incidents marred byelections held in two assembly constituencies in Tripura Tuesday. The CPI(M) has demanded a repoll in both constituencies alleging the election was completely rigged. It alleged party polling agents were prevented from reaching polling stations.

“We have submitted a list of demands to the election commission, importantly cancellation of the election and conduct of fresh elections. The other demands include action against the Superintendent of Police of Sepahijala district Bogati Jagadeeswar Reddy and returning officers of two assembly constituencies”, CPI(M) state Secretary Jitendra Chowdhury said at a news conference also attended by senior left front leaders.

The CPI(M)’s coalition partner, the Congress echoed these demands. Both parties said police and administration collaborated with the BJP.

At least three persons were injured in sporadic incidents in Dhanpur and Boxanagar areas. Two of them were shifted to the GBP Hospital here.

The CPI(M) claimed its local leaders and supporters were attacked and their homes ransacked. The party has been complaining to the election commission over alleged attacks, intimidation and frequent violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

(With inputs from PTI.)

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