Monday will pose as the first major challenge for Narendra Modi government after completion of four years as 14 constituencies (four Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly) in 10 states vote to elect their next representative.
The Election Commission is set to hold bypolls for four Lok Sabha seats in three states and 10 Assembly constituencies in nine states on Monday. One constituency, RR Nagar in Karnataka, will be conducting its Assembly election on the same day after it had been deferred following allegations of voter ID fraud earlier this month.
The number of constituencies going to polls makes it one of the largest such exercises in recent times. Even as the results from Monday's polling cannot be deemed as an indicator for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the political pundits will be watching it closely.
May 28's bypolls are also crucial for Bharatiya Janata Party to maintain majority figure of 272 in Lok Sabha, as currently, the party has dropped two with the resignations of BS Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu following their victory in the Karnataka Assembly polls.
The polling in Karnataka's RR Nagar would also be interesting as JD(S) and Congress are yet to announce an alliance for the seat despite forming a coalition government in the state.
The counting of votes will be held on May 31.
Here is all you need to know about Lok Sabha and Assembly seats going to polls on May 28:
LOK SABHA BYPOLLS
Palghar (Maharashtra): Palghar is a seat reserved for scheduled tribes. The main contenders are Shriniwas Wanga (Shiv Sena), Rajendra Gavit (BJP) and Damu Shingda (Congress). Shriniwas's father, Chintaman Wanga, won the constituency thrice, including in 2014, on BJP tickets. The bypoll was necessitated by Chintaman's death in January. Other contenders to watch for are Kiran Gahala of CPI(M) and Baliram Jadhav of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi.
Bhandara-Gondiya (Maharashtra): The Bhandara-Gondiya bypoll was necessitated after sitting MP Nana Patole, who won in 2014 on a BJP ticket, resigned in December before returning to the Congress. The key contenders are Hemant Patle (BJP) and NCP's Madhukar Kukade. The area has been considered a stronghold of the NCP's Praful Patel.
Kairana (Uttar Pradesh): The Kairana seat was held by Hukum Singh of the BJP in 2014 and the bypoll was necessitated by his death in February. This time, the BJP has nominated Hukum's daughter, Mriganka Singh, as its candidate. Her main rival is former MP Tabassum Hasan, who is contesting on a Rashtriya Lok Dal ticket; she had won the seat in 2009 on a BSP ticket. This time, all major opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Congress and BSP, are supporting Hasan's candidature.
Nagaland (Nagaland): The only Lok Sabha constituency in Nagaland was represented by Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party before he quit in February to contest in the Assembly election. Rio is currently chief minister of Nagaland. The contest in Nagaland is between the ruling People's Democratic Alliance (PDA), which includes the NDPP and BJP as constituents, and the Naga People's Front (NPF), which is being supported by the Congress. The PDA has nominated Tokheho Yepthomi, while NPF has put up C. Apok Jamir.
Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh): The bypoll in Noorpur was necessitated by the death of sitting MLA Lokendra Singh Chouhan in a road accident in February. Chouhan, a BJP member, had won the seat in 2012 and 2017. The BJP has nominated Chouhan's widow, Avani Singh, to fight the bypoll. Her main contender will be Samajwadi Party's Naim-ul-Hasan, who had lost to her husband in 2017. Like in Kairana, other opposition parties—in this case, the BSP and RLD—have announced support to the main anti-BJP candidate.
Maheshtala (West Bengal): The bypoll was necessitated by the death in February of TMC MLA Kasturi Das, who had won the seat in 2011 and 2016. In a seemingly rare occurrence in Indian politics, where wives usually take over the mantle from their husbands, in Maheshtala, the TMC has nominated Dulal Das, Kasturi's husband, for the bypolls. The BJP's candidate is Sujit Ghosh, while Prabhat Chowdhury is fighting for the CPI(M). The Congress has announced its support for Chowdhury.
Ampati (Meghalaya): Former Congress chief minister Mukul Sangma resigned as MLA for Ampati, which he had won in the March Assembly elections as he had also won from Songsak. Sangma had represented Ampati since 1993. The Congress's candidate this time is Sangma's daughter Miani D. Shira. The National People's Party, which is supported by the BJP, has renominated Clement G. Momin, who had lost to Sangma in 2013. Interestingly, the BJP won the second-largest number of votes in the constituency in the 2018 Assembly elections.
Tharali(Uttarakhand): The bypoll in Tharali, which is reserved for scheduled castes, was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Magan Lal Shah in February from swine flu. Shah had won the constituency by defeating Jeet Ram of Congress in 2017; Shah had lost to the latter by a narrow margin in 2012. The BJP has nominated Shah's wife, Munni Devi, as its candidate; Ram is again contesting for the Congress.
Chengannur (Kerala): Sitting MLA K.K. Ramachandran Nair of the CPI(M) died in January, necessitating the bypoll. The CPI(M) has nominated Saji Cherian, who had lost from the constituency in 2006, while Congress has nominated D. Vijayakumar and BJP has nominated senior state leader P.S. Sreedharan Pillai.
Jokihat (Bihar): The Jokihat bypoll was necessitated by the victory of sitting MLA Sarfaraz Alam in the Araria Lok Sabha bypoll in April. Sarfaraz, who had won the Jokihat seat on a JD(U) ticket, left the party after it restarted its alliance with the BJP last year. Sarfaraz won the Araria bypoll as an RJD member. The JD(U) has nominated Murshid Alam as its candidate for the election; the party has a strong record in Jokihat, having won it in the last four Assembly elections. The RJD has put up Sarfaraz's brother, Shahnawaz, as its candidate.
Gomia (Jharkhand): The reason for Gomia having a bypoll is unique; sitting MLA Yogendra Prasad Mahto of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) was expelled from the Assembly after he was convicted in a coal theft case. Mahto had won the seat in 2014 by defeating his BJP rival Madhav Lal Singh. Singh, who had won the seat on a Congress ticket in 2009, has been renominated by the BJP. The JMM is fielding Mahto's wife, Babita Devi; major opposition parties, including the Congress, have announced support for the JMM candidate.
Silli (Jharkhand): The bypoll in Silli was necessitated for a reason not dissimilar to Gomia—sitting MLA Amit Mahto of the JMM was convicted in a criminal assault case in March. In 2014, Amit had defeated All Jharkhand Students Union chief Sudesh Mahto, who had held the seat for over 10 years. Sudesh is contesting the election again, with the BJP's support. Like in Gomia, the JMM has fielded the 'ousted' MLA's wife, Seema Mahto.
Shahkot (Punjab): The election in Shahkot was necessitated by the death of Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Ajit Singh Kohar in February. Kohar had won from the constituency in 2012 and 2017. The Akali Dal has nominated Ajit's son, Naib Singh Kohar, as its candidate for the bypoll. The Congress has nominated Hardev Singh Laddi, who had lost to Ajit in 2017.
Palus-Kadegaon (Maharashtra): Interestingly, this is the only bypoll that had a result without voting! The bypoll in Palus-Kadegaon was necessitated by the death of Congress's Patangrao Kadam, who won the constituency in 2009 and 2014. The Election Commission declared Congress's candidate Vishwajeet Kadam, Patangrao's son, elected unopposed after the BJP withdrew its candidate. The BJP was forced to withdraw its candidate after the Shiv Sena announced its support for the Congress candidate.
RR Nagar (Karnataka): The result, or even the election itself, in RR Nagar could have drastic implications on the direction of the JD(S)-Congress alliance in Karnataka as the two sides have yet to agree on a joint candidate. The Congress has fielded previous RR Nagar MLA Muniratna, while the BJP has nominated Muniraju Gowda P.M. The JD(S) had announced G.H.Ramachandra, who was previously with the BJP, as its candidate. It remains to be seen whether the JD(S) goes ahead and contests or withdraws its candidate.