Bypolls: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and Meghalaya witness brisk voting

The Jharsuguda Assembly segment in Odisha witnessed 68.12 per cent polling while the Sohiong Assembly seat in Meghalaya recorded a voter turnout of 91.87 per cent.

Jalandhar Punjab bypolls, Odisha Jharsuguda, UP Suar, Chhanbey, Meghalaya Sohiong
Jalandhar district election officer Jaspreet Singh with disabled and elderly voters at a model polling booth on Wednesday | Pic: Twitter/Central Bureau of Communication, Jalandhar

Bypolls held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and Meghalaya witnessed brisk voting on Wednesday (May 10), with the northeastern state registering a polling percentage of more than 90.

The bypolls were conducted for two Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, one each in Meghalaya and Odisha and the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab.

According to the figures released by the Election Commission (EC) at 9 pm, a voter turnout of 51.69 per cent was recorded in Jalandhar, while the Suar and Chhanbey Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh registered a polling percentage of 44.95 and 39.51 respectively.

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The Jharsuguda Assembly segment in Odisha witnessed 68.12 per cent polling while the Sohiong Assembly seat in Meghalaya recorded a voter turnout of 91.87 per cent. The polling was largely peaceful, EC officials said.

The Jalandhar seat became vacant following the unfortunate passing of Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary. He suffered a cardiac arrest during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Phillaur, Jalandhar, earlier this year.

The contest for this seat is expected to be fiercely contested among four major parties, namely the AAP, BJP, Congress, and Shiromani Akali Dal, as they strive to gain an advantage in this stronghold of the Dalit community.

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In Suar and Chhanbey, the Election Commission had established 774 polling booths across 492 polling centres in these two areas. The eligible voter count stands at 6.62 lakh, comprising 3.51 lakh male voters, 3.11 lakh female voters, and 82 voters belonging to the third gender. A total of 14 candidates are contesting the elections, with six candidates in Suar and eight candidates in Chhanbey.

In the Chhanbey constituency, Apna Dal has nominated Rinki, the widow of Rahul Kol, in the expectation of gaining sympathy votes and retaining the seat. Rahul Kol was a popular figure among the electorate.

On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded Kirti Kol as its candidate. Kirti is the daughter of Bhai Lal Kol, a former MP from Roberstganj and a two-time MLA from Chhanbey. In the previous elections in 2022, Kirti contested against Rahul but faced defeat by a margin of over 32,000 votes.

The Jalandhar parliamentary seat is witnessing a unique four-cornered contest for the first time, with various factors influencing the voting trends. Opposition parties are strategizing to utilize AAP’s slogans against them, particularly the promise of providing 300 units of free power.

Additionally, recent events such as the passing of Akali stalwart Parkash Singh Badal, the tragic murder of Sidhu Moose Wala, and the active campaigning of his parents against AAP are also expected to have an impact on the election dynamics. These factors contribute to the complex landscape of the Jalandhar seat, making it an intriguing and closely watched contest.

(With agency inputs)