The parliamentary by-elections to four Lok Sabha seats - Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra and Nagaland - are crucial for both ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as opposition parties, as they may set the tone for the 2019 general elections.
The by-elections to the four Lok Sabha seats will be held on May 28.
The BJP is trying hard to retain all three Lok Sabha seats to send a clear message to voters, cadres as well as the opposition that the drubbing in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls was a thing of the past.
Kairana, Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar Lok Sabha seats were held by the BJP.
The BJP, which had won an absolute majority in the 2014 General Elections with 282 seats, has lost seven seats in Lok Sabha by-elections held so far in the last four years and its present tally is 274.
Take a look at latest development and the different political scenarios on all four Lok Sabha seats -
1. Kairana (Uttar Pradesh)
The bypolls in Kairana gains significance as the ruling BJP had lost two Lok Sabha by-elections in Uttar Pradesh in March after the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) joined hands against it.
The BJP lost Gorakhpur, earlier represented by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Phulpur, earlier represented by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in the bypolls.
The success of Samajwadi Party candidates in both Gorakhpur and Phulpur had come as a boost to efforts by opposition parties to forge a common understanding against the BJP in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The contest in Kairana will be watched with considerable interest as the seat was also held by the BJP. The vacancy arose after death of sitting MP Hukum Singh.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) has announced its decision to extend support to Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Tabassum Begum for the Kairana Lok Sabha bypolls.
The BJP has announced that Mriganka Singh, the daughter of late MP Hukum Singh, would be its candidate for the Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh's Kairana.
Kairana parliamentary constituency comprises five assembly segments -- Shamli, Thanabhawan, Kairana (all in Shamli district) and Gangoh and Nakur (Saharanpur district).
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJPs Hukum Singh had bagged 5,65,909 votes as he defeated Nahid Hasan of the SP who got 3,29,081 votes.
2. Palghar (Maharashtra)
The Palghar (Scheduled Tribe) Lok Sabha constituency in north Konkan fell vacant after the sitting BJP MP Chintaman Vanga died on January 30 following a heart attack.
The Congress has announced the candidature of former party MP Damodar Shingda for the Palghar seat.
The Congress' announcement came on the same day when party leader Rajendra Gavit crossed over to the BJP.
The BJP has nominated Rajendra Gavit as party candidate for Palghar seat.
Both these seats were held by the BJP but a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the NCP, and the Shiv Sena’s role especially in the Palghar bypolls have made things difficult for the BJP.
The Shiv Sena has decided to nominate Shrinivas Wanga, the son of late BJP leader Chintaman Wanga, for the by-election to the Palghar seat in Maharashtra.
The late BJP MP's family joined the Shiv Sena in April last week.
3. Bhandara-Gondiya (Maharashtra)
Byelection to Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat was necessitated when sitting member Nana Patole quit the BJP and the Lok Sabha seat to join the Congress in early December 2017.
Patole had joined the BJP just ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections and defeated NCP leader Praful Patel by more 1.5 lakh votes from Bhandara-Gondiya.
Now, Patole is unlikely to be the Congress candidate from this seat because of a poll pact between the Congress and the NCP in which the former will contest the Palghar seat while the latter will field its candidate in Bhandara-Gondia.
The BJP has a strong other backward class (OBC) support base in Bhandara-Gondiya constituency and the party is looking for a strong OBC candidate to help it retain the seat.
The Bhandara-Gondia constituency was home ground for Praful Patel as he was elected four times from this seat before 2014.
The Shiv Sena will not field a candidate for the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypolls.
Nagaland seat fell vacant when Neiphiu Rio, who is now the chief minister, resigned as a Lok Sabha member on February 16 .
The last date of filing nomination papers is May 10, and the scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on May 11. May 14 is the last date of withdrawal of candidates.
The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and VVPATs will be deployed at all polling stations in the byelections.
By-elections will be held on May 28 and counting of votes will take place on May 31.
(With inputs from PT, IANS)