Seven assembly constituencies across six states will witness tough electoral contests when voting will be held on Thursday. Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh will witness fierce turf war between the BJP and regional parties.
Among the seven seats where bypolls are being held, the BJP and the Congress held two seats each, while one seat each was with the BJD, Shiv Sena and RJD.
While a victory in the bypolls will be inconsequential to their position in the assemblies, the parties have not taken the contest lightly and carried out a hight pitched campaign.
Polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm amid tight security and the counting of votes will be done on November 6.
Here is everything you need to know about the seven Assembly constituencies:
Mokama and Gopalganj – Bihar
For the Mokama bypolls, the BJP has left no stone unturned to win the seat for the first time, while the ruling Mahagathbandhan’s largest constituent RJD is going all-out to retain it.
BJP nominee Sonam Devi is up against RJD’s Neelam Devi, whose husband Anant Singh’s disqualification has necessitated the by-election. Neelam’s nomination was supported by the seven-party grand alliance, formed after stripping the saffron camp of power in the state in August.
Mokama is the stronghold of Anant Singh since 2005. He won the seat twice on JD(U) tickets. Singh fought as an RJD candidate in the 2020 elections and retained the seat. But he was disqualified from the assembly following his conviction in a criminal case.
BJP’s Sonam Devi, wife of a local muscleman Lalan Singh who has been opposed to Anant Singh, is a greenhorn. Her husband is known to be a confidant of Suraj Bhan Singh, a dreaded gangster-turned-politician who had made his electoral debut in the 2000 assembly elections.
The BJP is contesting from the Mokama constituency for the first time as the saffron party had, on previous occasions, left the seat to its allies. Around 2,70,166 electorates in the assembly segment are eligible to exercise their franchise.
Apart from Mokama, by-election to Goapalgunj will also be held, and this will be the first electoral test for the Nitish Kumar-led ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government, formed less than three months ago. The seat fell vacant after the death of sitting BJP MLA Subhash Singh. BJP has given the ticket to his wife Kusum Devi and will contest against RJD candidate Mohan Prasad Gupta.
Munugode – Telangana
The contest is is crucial for all major parties in the state — the ruling TRS, opposition BJP and Congress. Over 2.41 lakh voters would exercise their franchise at 298 polling stations spread across the constituency.
The bypoll has been necessitated by the resignation of sitting Congress MLA Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy from the party and his post in August. He has joined the BJP and is seeking re-election.
While 47 candidates are in the fray, the main contest is confined to Raj Gopal Reddy (BJP), former MLA Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy of TRS and Congress’ Palvai Sravanthi.
The bypoll assumed great political significance as the winner would have an edge over others ahead of next year’s Legislative Assembly polls in Telangana.
The TRS, recently renamed as Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS), aims to demonstrate its dominance in state politics and go national with a big win here.
The BJP, meanwhile, hopes to give a push to its plans to emerge as the alternative to TRS with a victory in Munugode.
The saffron party is on a high following its victories in Dubbak and Huzurabad Assembly bypolls and also the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election during the last two years.
For the beleaguered Congress, it is almost a do-or-die battle in view of its below par performances in the 2014 and 2018 Assembly elections and the subsequent bypolls. If Congress loses, it would be a double whammy for the party as Munugode was its sitting seat.
Andheri East – Maharashtra
The byelection to the Andheri East Assembly constituency in Mumbai scheduled on Thursday is a mere formality following the withdrawal of the BJP’s candidate from the fray last month.
Rutuja Latke, the nominee of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction, is expected to register a comfortable win. She is pitted against six candidates- four of them Independents. The NCP and Congress have supported her candidature.
The bypoll was necessitated due to death of Rutuja Latke’s husband and Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May this year.
It is the first election after the revolt in the Shiv Sena by Eknath Shinde and 39 other legislators led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Political observers claimed the BJP’s move to withdraw its candidate was aimed at denying Uddhav Thackeray a morale booster or an upper hand should Rutuja Latke emerge victorious at the hustings.
The main aim of the BJP and the Shinde faction is to unseat Thackeray’s Sena from the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) where the elections are due in next few months, they further claimed.
Gola Gokarannath – Uttar Pradesh
In Gola Gokarannath constituency in Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP and the SP will fight it out. The BSP and the Congress are keeping away from the poll this time.
The bypoll was necessitated after BJP MLA Arvind Giri died on September 6. Over 3.90 lakh voters will decide the fate of seven contestants in the fray.
The main contest is likely to be between the BJP’s Aman Giri, the son of Arvind Giri, and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate and former Gola Gokarannath MLA Vinay Tiwari.
Despite a wave of sympathy for Giri following the death of his father, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not left anything to chance and deputed 40 star campaigners, including all major Cabinet ministers and party office-bearers.
The BJP’s campaign was led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Gola Gokarannath is part of Ajay Mishra Teni’s Kheri parliamentary constituency. Mishra has been in the eye of a storm following the alleged killing of four farmers last October, in which his son is an accused.
Adampur – Haryana
The bypolls in Haryana’s Adampur assembly constituency will decide if the Bhajan Lal family holds on to its bastion of five decades.
Twenty-two candidates, all men, are in the fray. The main parties contesting are the BJP, Congress, Indian National Lok Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi has maintained that Adampur has been his family’s citadel, and that people have showered their love and blessings on it for decades and would do so once again.
Dhamnagar – Odisha
BJD has fielded Abanti Das, the lone woman among the five candidates, for the bypolls.
BJP has fielded Suryabanshi Suraj. Odisha BJP president Samir Mohanty, the party’s state in-charge D Purendeswar, Leader of Opposition JN Mishra, MPs and MLAs too campaigned for Suraj, the son of late Dhamnagar MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, whose untimely demises on September 19 necessitated the by-poll.
The saffron party is optimistic of retaining Dhamnagar seat based on sympathy votes. In two by-polls held in Dhamnagar in 1961 and 1990, the wife and son of deceased MLAs had won the seat.
The BJP has taken the by-poll as a prestige issue ahead of the 2024 general election as Dhamnagar seat was won by the party in the 2019 state poll. The party had lost the Balasore sadar seat in the by-poll held amid the pandemic in 2020 though it had won it just a year ago.
Also in the fray is the AAP candidate Anwar Sheikh.
Over 2.38 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in 252 polling stations in the constituency. Around 107 polling stations have been identified as sensitive.