Key Contests And Shifting Dynamics: UP Assembly By-Polls On The Horizon

A total of 10 seats will become vacant as current MLAs transition to MPs including SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's Karhal seat

INDIA Bloc leaders Rahul Gandhi (L) and Akhilesh Yadav | Photo: PTI

With INDIA bloc reducing the saffron party to almost half its size in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and Congress are expected to continue their alliance in the upcoming assembly by-polls, according to media reports.

A total of 10 seats will become vacant as current MLAs transition to MPs, including Karhal's Akhilesh Yadav, who has won Kannauj, and Milkipur's Awadesh Prasad, who has secured Faizabad in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Other assembly constituencies include Khair (Aligarh), Kundarki (Moradabad), Ghaziabad (Ghaziabad), Majhawan (Mirzapur), Phulpur (Prayagraj), Meerapur (Muzaffarnagar), Katehari (Ambedkar Nagar), and Shahjahanpur. In addition, the Sishamau assembly seat will also be vacated by MLA Irfan Solanki who is facing a 7-year prison sentence for arson. 

Of the ten seats, Kundarki, Sambhal, Karhal, Milkipur, Katehari are currently held by SP MLAs, and Khair, Ghaziabad, Majhawan, Phulpur and Shahjahanpur are held by BJP MLAs. Whereas Meerapur has an RLD MLA.

The Karhal seat held by SP supremo, and leader of Opposition in state assembly Akhilesh Yadav is likely to observe a key contest. Although the candidate hasn't been officially announced yet, sources say it could be Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav or cousin Tej Pratap Yadav.

The Milkipur seat is also emerging as a hot seat, previously held by Awadhesh Prasad, a pasi Dalit man who defeated the BJP in the land of the Ram Mandir. There is speculation that BJP, which is looking for redemption, may field a Pasi Dalit candidate for the bypolls. Some names being considered include former MLA Baba Gorakhnath, MLA Ramu Priyadarshi, Neeraj Kanojia, District General Secretary Kanshiram Rawat, Radheshyam Tyagi, Chandrabhanu Paswan, Lakshmi Rawat and District Panchayat member Bablu, according to media reports.

The Meerapur seat in Western Uttar Pradesh will be another one to look out for. The seat held by RLD MLA Chandan Chauhan was won by him when the Jayant Chaudhary-led party was in alliance with the Samajwadi Party. However, this time the party has joined hands with BJP.

Apart from the upcoming assembly bypolls, Congress leaders have hinted at a possibility of the Samajwadi Party and Congress alliance continuing on till the 2027 state elections. Congress leader Ajay Rai told PTI, “our alliance with the Samajwadi Party is natural and this will also continue in the next assembly elections in UP.”

Additionally, the Congress party, which was reduced to a single seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, has made a comeback with six seats. With Rahul Gandhi deciding to retain his Raebareli seat, experts say this signals the Congress party's intent to expand its influence in Uttar Pradesh.