NEW DELHI: The counting of votes for the assembly bypolls in 7 seats across 6 states will take place on Friday in the first electoral test of the INDIA opposition bloc against the BJP-led NDA.
The 7 seats where voting took place on Tuesday are: Ghosi (Uttar Pradesh); Dumri (Jharkhand); Dhanpur and Boxanagar (Tripura); Bageshwar (Uttarakhand); Dhupguri (West Bengal); and Puthuppally (Kerala).
The opposition contested the polls unitedly in Ghosi, Dumri, Dhanpur, Boxanagar and Bageshwar. However, its constituents contested against each other in Dhupguri in West Bengal and Puthuppally in Kerala.
Here’s how the campaigning & voting took place:
Uttar Pradesh
The Ghosi seat in Uttar Pradesh fell vacant after the resignation of Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA and OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan, who rejoined the BJP.
Chauhan contested from the BJP ticket and was challenged by Samajwadi Party candidate Sudhakar Singh.
Singh got the support of Congress and Left parties.
Chauhan was a minister in the previous BJP government headed by chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
The seat witnessed high decibel campaigning since the election was a litmus test for the opposition unity.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath led the BJP’s charge during the campaigning.
Interestingly, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who had skipped campaigning for the other two prestigious bypolls in Rampur and Azamgarh last year, addressed an election meeting in Ghosi. He said the election would bring a change in the country’s politics.
West Bengal
In north Bengal’s Dhupguri, there was a three-cornered contest between the TMC, BJP and the Congress-supported CPM.
The bypoll was necessitated owing to the demise of BJP MLA Bishnupada Roy in the last week of July.
While the TMC had won the seat in 2016, it was wrested by the BJP in 2021.
TMC minister Firhad Hakim and MP Mimi Chakraborty did roadshows and meetings for ruling party candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy.
BJP heavyweights Sukanta Majumdar, Suvendu Adhikari and Dilip Ghosh canvassed for their candidate Tapasi Roy.
The Dhanpur and Boxanagar assembly seats in Tripura’s Sepahijala district saw a direct clash between the ruling BJP and the CPM.
Tipra Motha, the main opposition party, as well as the Congress, stayed away from campaigning.
BJP’s Tafajjal Hussain, who unsuccessfully contested the assembly election in February, contested against CPM’s Mizan Hussain in minority-dominated Boxanagar constituency, still considered the Left party’s stronghold.
Similarly, Dhanpur, once a strong bastion of the communists, also saw a direct fight between BJP’s Bindu Debnath and CPM’s Kaushik Debnath.
Mizan is the son of Boxanagar CPM MLA Samsol Haque who passed away in July causing a vacancy. The bypoll in Dhanpur was necessitated after Union minister Pratima Bhoumik resigned from the assembly days after her election.
Chief minister Manik Saha led BJP’s campaign from the front while ministers, MLAs and leaders joined the campaign trail in the last couple of days.
CPM politburo member Manik Sarkar and party’s state secretary Jitendra Chaudhury along with leaders campaigned for the Left candidates.
In Jharkhand’s Dumri, INDIA bloc candidate Bebi Devi (JMM) is locked in a direct contest with NDA candidate Yashoda Devi.
The seat has turned out to be a prestigious one for both alliances amid Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) claiming that the INDIA bloc will begin its victory journey from Dumri, while the NDA exuding confidence that it is all set to snatch the seat from JMM.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of JMM MLA Jagarnath Mahto, former education minister, in April. Mahto had been representing the seat since 2004.
Bebi Devi is the wife of Jagarnath Mahto.
In Kerala’s Puthuppally, the Congress and the ruling Left – both part of the INDIA bloc – took on each other.
The opposition party in the state is banking on “anti-incumbency” and the late Oommen Chandy’s legacy.
The bypoll was necessitated on account of Chandy’s death in July this year.
The Congress-led UDF opposition has fielded Chandy’s son, Chandy Oommen, to benefit from the sympathy wave following the former CM’s death.
On the other hand, the ruling Left once again decided to go with DYFI leader Jaick C Thomas who had unsuccessfully contested from the seat in 2016 and 2021 against the late Chandy.
The BJP has fielded its Kottayam district president G Lijinlal.
The BJP and the Congress are in a straight contest in Uttarakhand.
The ruling BJP has fielded Parvati Das as it seeks to retain the seat.
It was won by her husband Chandan Das in four consecutive elections since 2007 and his death necessitated the bypoll.
Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and other top BJP leaders campaigned for Das.
Congress heavyweights like Harish Rawat, PCC president Karan Mahara and leader of opposition in the state assembly Yashpal Arya had also been camping in Bageshwar for the past few days to garner support for party candidate Basant Kumar.
High turnout in most seats
Most of the seats that went to polls earlier this week logged a high voter turnout.
Dhanpur in Tripura recorded the highest turnout with over 89 per cent of the people casting their vote.
Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi recorded a moderate turnout at around 50.30 per cent.
In Jharkhand’s Dumri, a total of 64.84 per cent of 2.98 lakh voters exercised their franchise.
Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar saw 55.44 per cent voting while Tripura’s Boxanagar saw 83.92 per cent polling.
In Dhupguri in West Bengal and Puthuppally in Kerala, the voting was around 76 per cent and nearly 73 per cent respectively.
(With inputs from PTI)

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