Assembly bypolls: Vote counting for 7 seats in 6 states on September 8
Bypolls to two seats in Tripura and one seat each in Kerala, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh were held peacefully on September 5
Votes for the by-election to seven assembly seats in six states will be counted from 8 am on Friday (September 8). These bypolls are particularly crucial for the new INDIA alliance, which is facing its first electoral test against the BJP.
Bypolls to two seats in Tripura (Boxanagar and Dhanpur) and one seat each in Kerala (Puthuppally), West Bengal (Dhupguri), Jharkhand (Dumri), Uttarakhand (Bageshwar), and Uttar Pradesh (Ghosi) were held peacefully on September 5.
The Puthuppally bypoll saw an intense battle between the UDF and the LDF to fill the seat left vacant by the demise of Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy.
The bypoll to the constituency, located in the southern Kottayam district, was a prestigious battle for both the ruling and Opposition fronts in the state.
UDF’s Chandy Oommen, LDF candidate Jaick C Thomas, and BJP’s G Lijin Lal have exuded confidence about winning the election, citing various factors.
According to Election Commission sources, the counting of votes will be done at the special counting station in Baselius College. The total number of booths in Puthuppally was 182, and the counting of votes will be conducted in 13 rounds.
In Jharkhand, the counting centre has been set up at Krishi Bazar Samiti, Pachambha, in Giridih district, an election official said. “In all, 24 rounds of counting will be held and over 70 officials have been deployed,” Giridih deputy commissioner-cum-election officer Naman Priesh Lakra told PTI.
Around 65 per cent of 2.98 lakh voters had exercised their franchise to seal the fate of six candidates in the bypoll. “The Central Armed Police Force and various wings of Jharkhand Police have been deployed to ensure free and fair counting,” he said.
INDIA bloc candidate Bebi Devi is locked in a direct contest with NDA nominee Yashoda Devi. Both JMM’s Bebi Devi and AJSU Party’s Yashoda Devi seemed confident about getting more votes from the people.
Counting of votes to both the seats in Tripura — Boxanagar and Dhanpur — will take place at Sonamura Girls’ HS School. “There is tight security at the counting centre,” Sepahijala district magistrate Vishal Kumar told PTI.
BJP’s Tafajjal Hussain, who unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly election from Boxanagar, is contesting against CPI(M) nominee Mizan Hussain from there. In the last polls in February, CPI(M) had retained the seat.
Dhanpur, once considered a Left stronghold, witnessed a fight between the BJP’s Bindu Debnath and Kaushik Debnath of the CPI(M). The BJP won the seat for the first time in the Assembly poll held seven months ago.
The Boxanagar bypoll was necessitated by the death of CPI(M) MLA Samsul Haque. Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik’s resignation as the MLA of Dhanpur necessitated the by-election to that seat.
On Wednesday, the CPI(M) announced a boycott of the counting, alleging largescale rigging in the two constituencies.
In Dhupguri, CAPF and state police personnel are guarding the strong room on the second campus of North Bengal University in Jalpaiguri, an official said.
Around 76 per cent of 2.6 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the by-election that was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Bishu Pada Ray earlier this year.
CPI(M)’s Ishwar Chandra Roy is 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 ago.
Dhupguri, a seat reserved for the Scheduled Caste, houses 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.
In Bageshwar, the main contest is between the BJP and the Congress, and the seat saw 55.44 per cent voting.
The bypoll to the Bageshwar seat was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA and Cabinet minister Chandan Ram Das in April. He had won the seat in four consecutive polls since 2007.
The BJP fielded Das’s widow Parvati. There are four other candidates in the fray — Congress’s Basant Kumar, SP’s Bhagvati Prasad, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal’s Arjun Dev, and Uttarakhand Parivartan Party’s Bhagwat Kohli.
However, the direct contest is likely to be between the BJP and the Congress.
The Ghosi by-election saw the INDIA alliance putting up a united front with voting being a moderate 50.30 per cent.
The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of Dara Singh Chauhan, who had won the seat in the 2022 UP Assembly polls, from the Samajwadi Party (SP) in July. The OBC leader returned to the BJP and was picked by the party to contest the Ghosi bypoll.
He is pitted against the SP’s Sudhakar Singh.(With agency inputs)