Bypolls Conclude in Delhi, UP, Punjab; Raghav Chadha & Gautam Gambhir Vote
By-elections are also underway for Jharkhand's Mandar seat, Andhra Pradesh's Atmakur, and four Tripura seats.
Bypolls for Delhi's Rajinder Nagar Legislative Assembly seat on Thursday, 23 June, saw a low voter turnout of 43.75 percent.
The Delhi Assembly seat had fallen vacant after Aam Aadmi Party's Raghav Chadha was elected to the Rajya Sabha earlier this month. The seat is hosting a battle between AAP's Durgesh Pathak and the BJP's Rajesh Bhatia, who had also been a councillor from the area.
The Congress has fielded former councillor Prem Lata.
BJP leader Gautam Gambhir casts his vote.
AAP MP Raghav Chadha poses after casting his vote
Bhagwant Mann's Former Seat Up for Grabs in Punjab, UP Sees Contest on 2 Samajwadi Party Bastions
In Punjab, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann demanded that the time to be extended till 7 pm. In view of the current paddy-sowing season, many people are out and should be able to exercise their right to vote, the CM said.
Meanwhile, the ECI asked the Punjab Chief Secretary and DC Sangrur regarding a requested extension in the polling time towards closing hours without the appearance of any new facts on polling day, thereby attempting to influence a section of voters, ANI reported.
Polls took place for the Lok Sabha seat of Sangrur, which had fallen vacant after CM Mann resigned as an MP after being elected to the state Assembly from Dhuri seat in March.
AAP's Gurmail Singh contested against the Congress' Dalvir Singh Goldy, the former MLA from Dhuri, and BJP's Kewal Dhillon.
The ruling AAP is facing its first test of popularity in Sangrur after its sweep in the Punjab polls whose results were declared on 10 March.
Prominent amongst those who cast their votes were Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema and AAP candidate Gurmail Singh. Opposition candidates Goldy and Dhillon also voted on Thursday.
On the other hand, in Uttar Pradesh, voting took place for Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha seats, considered as the bastions of the Samajwadi Party.
The bypolls to the Azamgarh seat were necessitated by the resignation of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly as an MLA in the elections earlier this year.
Yadav accused the ruling BJP of a misuse of power in the bypolls to the Azamgarh and Rampur, alleging that efforts were made to disrupt voting.
Claiming that though the Election Commission was informed about the developments, the election machinery remained a mute spectator, the SP supremo alleged that party workers were harassed and undue pressure was created on them to vote for BJP candidates.
"The BJP misused power in the bypolls to Azamgarh and Rampur. Hurdles were created by the ruling party to disrupt polling," Yadav said in a statement
The Rampur seat was vacated by senior SP leader Azam Khan, who too was elected to the state Assembly.
Khan, on Thursday, alleged that the UP Police "wreaked havoc" on the eve of the bypolls to the Lower House in Azamgarh and Rampur parliamentary constituencies.
According to Khan, the UP police also behaved "indecently" with the SP candidate in Rampur on the eve of the bypolls.
"The most indecent behaviour was by the inspector at Ganj police station. He was violent. The blame is on the administration if polling percentage drops," Khan said.
"They took people to the police station and beat them up. I've also heard of some money transfers as well. It's shameful," Azam Khan said.
However, police personnel claimed that no such incidents took place, and that the police has been deployed in large numbers to maintain "law and order."
From Rampur, the BJP fielded Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, who recently joined the party, while the SP fielded Asim Raja. The Mayawati-led BSP is not contesting from Rampur.
The Azamgarh seat saw triangular contest among BJP's Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirhua,' a famous Bhojpuri actor-singer, SP's Dharmendra Yadav and BSP's Shah Alam, also known as Guddu Jamali.
The voter turnout on these seats was recorded as follows by the Election Commission:
Sangrur (Punjab): 37.01 percent
Rampur (UP): 39.02 percent
Azamgarh (UP): 48.58 percent
Bypolls in Jharkhand & Andhra
Polling took place in Jharkhand for the Mandar Assembly seat, which had been vacated after the disqualification of Bandhu Tirkey as an MLA in the wake of his conviction in a corruption case.
Congress fielded Bandhu's daughter, Shilpa Neha Tirkey, as the common candidate of the JMM-led alliance, while the BJP nominated former legislator Gangotri Kujur from the seat. An independent candidate Dev Kumar Dhan, with backing from Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), is also in the fray.
In Andhra Pradesh, a bypoll was held to fill the vacancy caused due to the death of then Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy in February.
Contest on 4 Seats in Tripura
The bypolls for four Assembly seats in Tripura also took place. The seats that were contested include Agartala, Town Bardowali, Jubarajnagar, and Surma.
Surma, on the other hand, goes to polls after the BJP's Ashish Das was disqualified by Assembly Speaker Ratan Chakraborty. The Jubarajnagar seat fell vacant due to the death of Ramendra Chandra Debnath, the sitting MLA of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The left and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress fielded candidates in all four Assembly seats.
Voter turnout for the state Assembly elections is as follows:
Atmakur (Andhra Pradesh): 61.70 percent
Mandar (Jharkhand): 61.25 percent
Agartala (Tripura): 76.72 percent
Town Bardowali (Tripura): 69.54 percent
Surma (Tripura): 83.11 percent
Jubarajnagar (Tripura): 83.12 percent
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