Massive violence and a very poor turnout marred the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll on Sunday, while by-elections for 10 assembly constituencies across eight states, including in the national capital, saw average to enthusiastic polling.
The assembly constituencies where by-polls were held on Sunday are Rajouri Garden in Delhi, Littipara in Jharkhand, Nanjangud and Gundlupet in Karnataka, Dholpur in Rajasthan, Kanthi Dakshin in West Bengal, Ater and Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh and Dhemaji in Assam.
Counting for the Lok Sabha seat will be held on April 15, and for the assembly seats on April 13.
In Kashmir, eight civilians were killed and scores injured in clashes with security forces as mobs tried to attack polling stations in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency that recorded a poor seven per cent voting -- the lowest in the state in three decades.
The violence in the Lok Sabha constituency -- spread across the districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal -- left seven persons dead in three places in Budgam and one in Ganderbal. Opposition National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and ruling Peoples Democratic Party's Nazir Ahmed Khan are the main contestants. The seat fell vacant after then PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra resigned to protest alleged atrocities on people during the 2016 agitation.
Karnataka's Gundlupet saw a record 80 per cent turnout while 76 per cent was registered in Nanjangud (reserved) assembly constituency.
In the April 2013 assembly elections, polling percentatge in Gundlupet was also a record 87.05 and in Nanjungud, it was 77.59.
Barring stray incidents like voting being held up due to EVM glitches and poll boycott in a village in the Nanjangud segment, the bye-polls were peaceful in both the segments.
The by-poll for Nanjangud (Scheduled Caste) in Myusuru district was necessitated by the resignation of former Congress lawmaker and Revenue Minister Srinviasa Prasad, who is re-contesting on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket.
The ruling Congress has fielded K. Keshavamurthy.
The bye-poll for Gundlupet in adjacent Chamarajanagar district was caused due to the death of Congress lawmaker and Cooperation Minister H.S. Mahadeva Prasad on January 2.
The ruling party has fielded his widow Geetha against C.S. Niranjan Kumar of the opposition BJP.
Delhi's Rajouri Garden assembly by-poll saw disinterested voting, registering just 47 per cent.
In the 2015 assembly elections, when the Aam Aadmi Party swept to power, the constituency had witnessed 72 per cent.
Aam Aadmi Party's Harjeet Singh, Congress' Meenakshi Chandela and BJP-SAD's Manjinder Singh Sirsa are in the fray from the seat. The seat fell vacant as AAP's Jarnail Singh resigned to contest the Punjab assembly polls.
Jharkhand's Littipara bypoll saw 72.15 per cent voting. Ten candidates were in the fray for the seat, the contest for which was a prestige issue for both the ruling BJP and opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
The seat fell vacant after JMM legislator Anil Murmu died in January following a heart attack.
Around 82 per cent voting was seen in West Bengal's Kanthi Dakshin assembly by-poll.
The ruling Trinamool Congress nominated former Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya as its candidate for the constituency in East Midnapore district. The seat had fallen vacant after the party's sitting legislator Dibyendu Adhikari was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Tamluk seat in a by-poll last year.
In Himachal Pradesh, bypoll for the Bhoranj seat saw over 63 percent voting.
The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were used in the state for the first time. There were technical snags at a few places but the machines were subsequently replaced, an official said.
The main contest was between the ruling Congress and the BJP.
The by-poll was necessitated following the death of two-time former cabinet minister I.D. Dhiman, who had won six consecutive elections from this constituency.
His son Anil Dhiman, a physician by profession, was in the fray from the BJP. He was pitted against Promila Devi of the Congress.
Assam's Dhemaji constituency saw 66.97 per cent voting.
The by-election was necessitated as BJP lawmaker Pradan Baruah contested and won the byelection to the Lok Sabha from the Lakhimpur constituency. Sarbananda Sonowal vacated the seat after winning from the Majuli assembly constituency on becoming the Chief Minister.
VVPAT machines were used in polls for the first time in the state.
Amid reports of violence and allegations of booth capturing, over 60 per cent ballotting was recorded in bypolls for Ater in Bhind district and 65 per cent in Bandhavgarh in Umaria district.
Several incidents of violence, including clashes between the Congress and BJP activists, were reported from Ater.
There were also instances of stone pelting and reports of alleged firing in Ater. Congress candidate Hemant Katare accused the BJP of attacking his car and of booth capturing.
State Congress chief Arun Yadav accused the BJP and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of using the state machinery to influence the voting.
The Ater assembly seat fell vacant following the death of sitting legislator Satyadev Katare of the Congress, while the by-poll in Bandhavgarh was necessitated after its lawmaker Gyan Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha in November by-election last year.
* 8 killed, 36 injured including poll officials in Budgam Protesters-Security forces clash
Budgam Protesters-Security forces clash: 5 killed, 36 injured including poll officials pic.twitter.com/5eR1vDUK6i— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
* 38 pc polling recorded Jharkhand’s Littipara constituency till 11am.
* Since last night about 35 polling booth officers have been taken to unknown location. We will complain to Election Commission about booth capturing: Arun Yadav, Congress
* Three youths were killed and several injured when security forces opened fire on a stone-pelting mob that stormed a polling station in Budgam district during voting in Srinagar Lok Sabha bypolls: PTI
* Nearly 25 per cent votes were cast by 10 AM in the by-election to Dholpur Assembly constituency in Rajasthan.
* Been a politician for 20 years, never saw such a bad situation in elections and campaigning. Failure of State Govt, Centre and Election Commssion: Omar Abdullah
* Elections should have been peaceful today, this govt has failed in giving a peaceful atmosphere for people to come and vote: Farooq Abdullah
Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah cast their vote for Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll pic.twitter.com/ZoViWg7CuR— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
* Car of Congress candidate vandalised in Bhind, MP. Two people beaten up and booth allegedly captured. Congress blames BJP supporters for the incident: ANI
* One killed, five injured in clashes between protesters and security forces in Budgam, J&K
* Petrol bombs hurled towards polling station in Budgam
* Two people are also injured in a clash between protesters and Security personnel in Nasrullahpora area of Budgam
* Clash between protesters and Security personnel near polling station in Dalwan Pakerpora area of Budgam. Two injured
J&K: Voting underway for Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll pic.twitter.com/GMu2EK1p2J— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
* In Budgam district, stone-pelting incidents were reported from Hafroo Batpora in Chrar-e-Sharief Assembly constituency, Gooripora area in Beerwah, Dardpora and Soibugh in Budgam and Hayatpora in Chadoora assembly segments: police
* Stone-pelting incidents were reported from Budgam and Ganderbal districts of central Kashmir: police
* Miscreants started pelting stones on polling booths in some areas of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency: police
* Nanjangud bypoll candidate from Congress Kalale Krishnamurthy wore Congress symbol inside polling station
* Four EVMs replaced due to fault in Bandhavgarh assembly bypoll, Madhya Pradesh.
Jammu & Kashmir: Voting underway for Ganderbal Lok Sabha bypoll pic.twitter.com/pYRThlJqyU— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
J&K: Voting underway for Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll pic.twitter.com/rOcmrs9ojJ— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
J&K: Security tightened in Srinagar on voting day for Lok Sabha bypolls pic.twitter.com/6NBijT3myW— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
Himachal Pradesh: Polling delayed at Booth no.51 in Bhoranj assembly bypolls (Hamirpur district) due to fault in EVM. pic.twitter.com/veCp1zW92F— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
Bypolls: Voting underway for Bandhavgarh assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh pic.twitter.com/qqAPRZzaO2— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2017
* Voting underway for Bandhavgarh assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh
* Voting begins on Kanthi Dakshin seat in East Midnapore
Stone-pelting in some areas of Srinagar constituency
Sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were today reported in Srinagar Parliamentary constituency where voting for the bypoll is underway, police said.
Miscreants started pelting stones on polling booths in some areas of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency this morning, a police official said.
He said stone-pelting incidents were reported from Budgam and Ganderbal districts of central Kashmir which are part of Srinagar Parliamentary constituency where polling began at 7 AM.
In Budgam district, stone-pelting incidents were reported from Hafroo Batpora in Chrar-e-Sharief Assembly constituency, Gooripora area in Beerwah, Dardpora and Soibugh in Budgam and Hayatpora in Chadoora assembly segments, the official said.
He said in Wakura area of Ganderbal Assembly constituency, a polling station was without electricity and as the Power Development Department linemen tried to rectify the snag, some miscreants pelted stones on them.
Security forces swung into action and chased away the protestors, the official said.
Meanwhile, normal life was affected in the three poll-bound districts of the Valley due to a strike called by separatist groups, who have asked people to stay away from the election process.
Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in the districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal were shut, while public transport was off the roads, the official said.
He, however, said that few private cars were seen plying in these areas.
The government has declared a holiday for today in these three districts.
Polling underway for one Lok Sabha, nine Assembly seats across 8 states
In Srinagar, nine candidates including National Conference President Farooq Abdullah in the fray. Abdullah, who is the candidate of his party and the Congress jointly, will take on the ruling PDP's candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan in a virtual direct contest.
The seat fell vacant following resignation of PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra, both from the Lower House of Parliament and his party, in protest against the "atrocities" on people during the agitation in the summer last year in the wake of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.
In Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has invested prestige into the contest.
Elections are being held for Gundlupet and Nanjangud constituencies following the death of Cooperative Minister Mahadeva Prasad and resignation of V Srinivas Prasad as Congress MLA after he was dropped from the ministry, respectively.
The Ater bypoll in Madhya Pradesh has become a prestige issue for senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and MP Chief Minister
Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
While Congress wants to retain Ater seat as it belongs to former Leader of Opposition, Satyadev Katare, whose death necessitated the bypoll, BJP also wants to wrest it from Congress to continue with the party's winning streak.
The Rajouri Garden seat in Delhi fell vacant early this year after AAPs Jarnail Singh quit as MLA to contest Punjab Assembly poll against SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, only to lose and considerably dent AAPs chances of holding on to the seat.
In 2015, AAP had swept the national capital, which remained a Congress fort for 15 years at a stretch, by winning 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
(With inputs from IANS)