Bypolls in 6 states: People in 6 states- West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Tripura cast their votes in the byelections for 7 assembly seats on Tuesday.
The byelections in these 6 states were held on a totally different political battleground wherein I.N.D.I.A bloc (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) and the ruling alliance NDA led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were at play. The byelections are being considered as the semifinal ahead of crucial Lok Sabha elections 2024. The results will also reflect the impact of newly-born I.N.D.I.A alliance on electoral landscape and the mood of voters in these states.
Notably, there were some contradictory positionings in some states where in I.N.D.I.A bloc partners fought against each other. However, the bypoll is by and large an exercise to test the water before the larger poll battle in 2024.
If I.N.D.I.A bloc wins the majority number of seats out of 7, it will further strengthen the alliance's unity and fill confidence that it can defeat BJP which has been on winning streak since 2014 in Lok Sabha elections. Also, where there is a direct fight between I.N.D.I.A bloc partners like in West Bengal and Kerala, if the BJP's vote percentage increases, the output will help the opposition alliance to device their strategy and they may avoid confrontation to stop the BJP.
Here is the state-wise scenario of the bypoll battle
Tripura: Tripura is the only state where two assembly seats -Dhanpur and Boxanagar- underwent byelections. Congress which in past too made an alliance with the Left, lent support to CPI(M) in the bypoll.
BJP's Tafajjal Hussain, who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly election from Boxanagar, was contesting against CPI(M) nominee Mizan Hussain. The Boxanagar assembly segment has 66 per cent minority voters of a total of 43,087 electors.
In the last assembly elections in February, the CPI(M) managed to retain the seat.
The Dhanpur assembly constituency, once considered a stronghold of the Left, will witness a fight between BJP's Bindu Debnath and Kaushik Debnath of CPI(M).
The BJP won the seat for the first time in the assembly poll held seven months ago.
The Congress and the Tripra Motha did not field their candidates in the two seats for the bypolls which will help CPI(M). Tripra Motha in the last election went solo which means its voters may go against the ruling BJP subsequently, help the Left.
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.
Uttarakhand: Five candidates were in the fray in Bageshwar assembly seat. There is a direct fight between BJP and Congress. However, SP which is an ally of I.N.D.I.A, interestingly fielded a candidate making the fight triangular. Akhilesh Yadav-led SP fielded Bhagwati Prasad Trikoti, who had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections 2014.
The BJP fielded Parvati Das while the Congress has pitted Basant Kumar against her. Das is the wife of Chandan Ram Das whose death in April this year necessitated the bypoll. He had won from the seat four times since 2007.
Jharkhand: The byelection to Dumri assembly seat in Jharkhand is a pure battle between I.N.D.I.A and NDA.
JMM candidate Bebi Devi was contesting the byelection as the nominee of the I.N.D.I.A. BJP-led NDA fielded AJSU Party candidate Yashoda Devi.
The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA and former education minister Jagarnath Mahto. Mahto was the husband of Bebi Devi. He had been representing the seat since 2004.
West Bengal: The bypoll fight in West Benal's Dhupguri assembly seat as very interesting in the wake I.N.D.I.A bloc. Main I.N.D.I.A partners - TMC and Congress-CPI(M) alliance- in Bengal were fighting against each other. The third player is the BJP in the contest in Dhupguri.
CPI (M)'s Ishwar Chandra Roy was contesting as the candidate of the Congress-Left alliance, while the ruling TMC has fielded Nirmal Chandra Roy, a teacher by profession.
The BJP nominated Tapasi Roy, the widow of a CRPF jawan who died fighting terrorists in Kashmir a few years back.
The bypoll to the seat was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Bishu Pada Ray earlier this year.
Dhupguri, a scheduled caste-reserved seat, has nearly 50 per cent Rajbanshi people and 15 per cent minority population.
The BJP had snatched the constituency from the TMC in the 2021 assembly polls.
Uttar Pradesh: The result of the Ghosi assembly constituency will reflect the mood of voters in the changed political scenario. The state is very important as it sends as many as 80 members to Lok Sabha. UP plays a key role in the formation of the government at the Centre. Congress did not field a candidate in Ghosi lending support to SP candidate Sudhakar Singh.
The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Dara Singh Chauhan, who had won the seat in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, from the Samajwadi Party in July. He returned to the BJP and was selected by the party to contest the bypoll.
In the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Chauhan defeated BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Rajbhar by a margin of 22,216 votes.
In the bypoll, Chauhan is being supported by NDA partners Apna Dal (Sonelal), Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) Party and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a former SP ally.
On the other hand, Samajwadi Party candidate Singh has received support from I.N.D.I.A bloc constituents -- the Congress, CPI(M), CPI, RLD, AAP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and Suheldev Swabhiman Party.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has not fielded any candidate in the bypoll. A total of 10 candidates are in the fray.
Kerala: Puthuppally assembly seat belongs to late Kerala CM Oommen Chandy. In Kerala, the fight is between I.N.D.I.A bloc partners- Congress and CPI(M). The Congress veteran held the seat for 53 years. The ruling CPI(M) and the opposition Congress were locked in a fierce battle for the assembly seat representing this constituency that fell vacant after the demise of Congress stalwart.
The Congress-led opposition UDF fielded Oommen Chandy's son, Chandy Oommen, which analysts view as an apparent strategy to capitalise on the sympathy wave following the former CM's death.
The ruling Left front once again decided to go with DYFI leader Jaick C Thomas who had unsuccessfully contested the segment in 2016 and 2021 against the late Chandy.
The BJP has fielded its Kottayam district president, G Lijinlal.
In the present composition of the 2021 Kerala Assembly with a total of 140 seats, the ruling LDF has 99 seats, UDF has 40 seats with one vacant Puthuppally assembly seat.