The three Lok Sabha seats going to polls are Azamgarh and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, and Sangrur in Punjab. Seven assembly seats are Rajinder Nagar in Delhi, Mandar in Jharkhand, Atmakur in Andhra Pradesh and Agartala, Town Bordowali, Surma and Jabarajnagar in Tripura.
Jharkhand: Polling begins for Mandar assembly by-election
Polling began at 7 AM on Thursday for the by-poll to Mandar assembly seat in Jharkhand's Ranchi district amid tight security arrangements, an election official said.
Voting is taking place in 433 polling stations, with 141 booths having been declared hyper-sensitive, 218 as sensitive, and 55 as vulnerable, he said, adding polling will continue till 4 PM.
Over 3.54 lakh voters, including 1.75 lakh women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-election to decide the electoral fate of 14 candidates in the fray. The votes will be counted on June 26.
More than 3,000 security personnel, including Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP), CRPF, and SSB, have been deployed.
The by-election was necessitated after the disqualification of Bandhu Tirkey as an MLA in the wake of his conviction in a corruption case.
Congress has fielded Bandhu's daughter, Shilpa Neha Tirkey, as the common candidate of the JMM-led alliance, while BJP has nominated former legislator Gangotri Kujur from the seat. An independent candidate Dev Kumar Dhan, with backing from Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), is also in the fray.
Polling begins for by-elections to four Tripura assembly seats
By-elections to four assembly seats in Tripura began at 7 AM on Thursday amid tight security arrangements, an election official said. Polling to the Agartala, Town Bardowali, Surma and Jubarajnagar seats is taking place in 221 booths, and it will continue till 5 PM.
A total of 25 companies of central forces, apart from Tripura State Rifles (TSR) have been deployed. As many as 1,89,032 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 25 candidates in the fray.
The by-elections in Agartala and Town Bardowali constituencies were necessitated after Sudip Roy Barman and Asish Saha quit as BJP MLAs and joined the Congress in February.
Surma seat in Dhalai district fell vacant after BJP legislator, Asish Das, was disqualified by Speaker Ratan Chakraborty and by-poll to Jubarajnagar was necessitated following the death to sitting CPI(M) MLA Ramendra Chandra Debnath.
Chief Minister Manik Saha, who is not a member of the assembly, is contesting from Town Bardowali constituency against Congress nominee Asish Saha.
Trinamool Congress and Left Front have fielded candidates in all the four seats. The votes will be counted on June 26.
Rajinder Nagar bypoll: Special attention to lowest turnout polling booths under 'Focus 50' mission
Special awareness campaigns have been run to boost voter turnout at 50 polling stations in the bypoll to the Rajinder Nagar assembly constituency in Delhi, vis-a-vis the voting percentage recorded in the 2020 election, according to a senior official.
In the 2020 polls, the voter turnout in Rajinder Nagar was 58.27 per cent -- 58.09 per cent male voters and 58.5 per cent female voters.
At 14 polling stations, the voter turnout was less than 50 per cent. "Special attention is being given on the 50 lowest turnout polling booths under the aegis of 'Focus 50' mission. Dovetailed Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaigns have been organised using multi-pronged strategy to improve voter turnout as compared to the last poll," said Monica Priyadarshini, District Magistrate and District Election Officer, New Delhi district.
The stage is set for the Rajinder Nagar bypoll in Delhi on Thursday, largely being seen as a battle between a confident AAP and a spirited BJP for the crucial Assembly constituency where water shortage and the city government's liquor policy are among the key election issues.
A total of 1,64,698 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the bypoll, in which 14 candidates are in the fray. In addition to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress candidates, there are three others from unrecognised parties and eight Independent nominees.
Among other measures taken to raise awareness, a "mega pink bike rally" was organised on Wednesday as part of which riders would travel across these 50 polling stations, poll officials said.
Flash mobs, musical laser shows with spectacular performances of musical bands are other events. Special events at colleges were held which saw enthusiastic participation of students. Picture and slogan writing competition was organised where students made colourful posters which will be displayed in polling locations.
Exclusive social media awareness campaigns to attract young voters are also being done.
On June 18, a mega SVEEP event was organised in front of PVR Naraina which included a Kathak performance by renowned dancer Nrityashri Alaknanda and her team along with a magic show. Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh and Under-19 cricketer and Delhi State Icon for Election Commission Yash Dhull were also present on the occasion, and motivated voters to turn up in large numbers on June 23, officials said.
Voting begins in UP's Azamgarh, Rampur; 19 candidates in fray
Polling began on Thursday morning in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh and Rampur, the Lok Sabha seats considered as the bastions of the Opposition Samajwadi Party in the state.
Over 35 lakh people are eligible to vote in the bypolls and will be deciding the fate of 19 candidates. The bypolls to the Azamgarh seat were necessitated by the resignation of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, who was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly as an MLA in the elections earlier this year.
The Rampur seat was vacated by senior SP leader Azam Khan, who too was elected to the state Assembly. The polling started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer said here.
According to an official statement issued here by the Election Commission, two general and as many expense observers have been deputed by it to keep an eye on the polls. Besides, 291 sector magistrates, 40 zonal magistrates and 433 micro-observers have also been deputed, it said.
For ensuring security and peaceful conduct of the polls, adequate number of central and state forces have been deployed. The responsibility for the security of EVMs and strongrooms has been given to central forces.
According to officials, 13 candidates are in the fray from Azamgarh, where 18.38 lakh people are eligible to vote. Six candidates are contesting from Rampur, which has 17.06 lakh voters. From Rampur, the BJP has fielded Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, who recently joined the party, while the SP has fielded Asim Raja, handpicked by Khan. The Mayawati-led BSP is not contesting from Rampur.
The Azamgarh seat will see a triangular contest among BJP's Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirhua', a famous Bhojpuri actor-singer, SP's Dharmendra Yadav and BSP's Shah Alam, also known as Guddu Jamali.
In Azamgarh, of the 18.38 lakh voters, 9,70,249 are men, 8,67,942 women and 36 third gender. Officials said 2,176 booths are set up at 1,149 polling stations of the constituency, where an estimated 15 per cent of the residents are Muslim.
All four assembly constituencies--Azamgarh, Mubarakpur, Sagdi, Gopalpur and Mehnagar--falling in this Lok Sabha seat were won by the SP in the recent assembly elections.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there was an alliance between the SP and the BSP, and Akhilesh Yadav had won easily, getting 6.21 lakh votes against BJP's Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’, who had got 3.61 lakh votes.
While central BJP leaders remained absent from campaigning this time, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sought votes for the BJP candidates on the two seats.
Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple did not campaign in the bypolls. In the 2019 Lok Sabaha elections, Azam Khan had received 5,59,177 votes, whereas BJP candidate Jaya Prada got 4,49,180 votes and Congress candidate Sanjay Kapoor lost his deposit.
Punjab: Voting begins for Sangrur bypoll
Voting began Thursday morning for the bypoll to the Punjab’s Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, where the ruling AAP is facing its first test of popularity after its impressive performance in the assembly elections.
Amid tight security, the polling began at 8 am and will continue till 6 pm, officials said, adding the counting of votes will be taken up on June 26.
There are 15,69,240 eligible voters -- 8,30,056 men, 7,39,140 women and 44 from transgender community -- in the Sangrur parliamentary constituency.
A total of 16 candidates, including three women, are in the fray.
The bypolls come at a time when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing Opposition heat over the law and order issue and the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.
Candidates fielded by the Congress, the BJP and the SAD are hoping to cause an election upset while the AAP is looking to repeat its feat of the 2022 assembly polls in which it won all nine assembly segments under the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann campaigned extensively and also took out a roadshow with AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday urging voters to elect party candidate Gurmail Singh, party's Sangrur district in-charge.
Mann expressed confidence that "the revolutionary people of Sangrur will once again vote for a common man and the AAP's Gurmail Singh will win the bypoll with a thumping majority".
The Congress, the BJP and the SAD had hit out at the AAP dispensation during the campaigning over the "deteriorating" law and order situation in the state and also raised the killing of Punjabi singer Moosewala.
Apart from law and order, the opposition parties have slammed the AAP government over "unfulfilled promises". The main opposition Congress has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy in the bypoll while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon its candidate, who joined the saffron party on June 4.
Kamaldeep Kaur, the sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's assassination case, has been fielded by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is also in the fray. The Sangrur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after Bhagwant Mann resigned as MP after winning Dhuri seat in the February 20 Assembly polls. The CM had won the Sangrur seat in 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections. Of the remaining 12 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, the Congress has eight seats, while two each are of the BJP and SAD.
(with inputs from PTI)