Voting underway for Bypolls to 3 Lok Sabha, 29 Assembly seats across 13 states

Srinagar, Oct 30 (KNS): The voting for Bypolls to three Lok Sabha and 29 Assembly seats - across 13 states, which are being held today, is underway and the totes will be counted on Tuesday. 

As per reports, the three Lok Sabha bypolls are in Himachal Pradesh (Mandi), Madhya Pradesh (Khandwa) and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Bengal will see four bypolls. 

In Assam five Assembly bypolls will be held. Other states where bypolls wil be held are Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Mizoram.

As three Lok Sabha and 30 assembly constituencies vote in by-elections, the polls will draw up crucial tests for several leaders and some state Chief Ministers even though they aren't expected to have any major bearing on the stability of governments.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, and Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh are the parliamentary constituencies while the assembly seats are spread across 14 states.

Five of the assembly seats are in Assam, four are in West Bengal, three each in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya, two each are in Bihar, Karnataka, and Rajasthan, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Telangana.

The votes will be counted on Tuesday and all eyes will be on key battles in Bihar, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana.

The BJP has been changing Chief Ministers in several states which puts the likes of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in a spot. With a delicate hold on power, he would want to bolster his position in the party and much of it depends on the outcome of the polls. Key battles in the state include those for Raigaon, Prithvipur and Jobat. 

While the BJP holds the first one, the other two are held by the Congress.

In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has a similarly slim majority and faces infighting in the Congress with party leader Sachin Pilot at the helm of a camp of detractors. Vallabhnagar and Dhariawad, held by the Congress and the BJP respectively will be the seats to watch on the day of results.

In West Bengal, all four seats - Dinhata, Santipur, Khardaha and Gosaba - will be prestige battles for the ruling Trinamool and the opposition BJP despite Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decisive sweep in May.

The by-election in Telangana's Huzurabad has also become somewhat of a prestige battle for Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao with the polls necessitated following the resignation of Eatala Rajender in June following his removal from the state cabinet over allegations of land grabbing. Mr Rajender, who rubbished the allegations, had quit TRS and joined BJP.

The two seats voting in Bihar - Tarpur and Kusheshwar Asthan - are also seen as an important test for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose party Janata Dal (United) - already the smaller party in the ruling alliance - must retain both.

Back in Bihar after three years, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is already shaking things up in the state. Mr Prasad has said he missed two state elections due to illness and detention but will now ensure "visarjan" (departure) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state.

In Haryana, senior Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait has hinted at farmers supporting Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate Abhay Singh Chautala. This is the first election after the farmers' protest started and Mr Chautala's support for the protest is bound to affect the poll outcome. A grandson of former deputy prime minister Chaudhary Devi Lal and son of former Chief Minister of Haryana Om Prakash Chautala, Abhay Chautala had resigned from the state assembly in support of agitating farmers in January. He is now contesting again from the Ellenabad seat which fell vacant after his resignation. (KNS)

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