Bypolls incident-free; all eyes on Kairana

Litmus test: High-stakes elections to test Opposition unity

Burqa-clad women, along with other voters, show their voter identity cards as they wait to cast thier votes for Noorpur Assembly bypolls, in Bijnor, on Monday. PTI

It will be a tense Thursday for both the BJP and the Opposition when the counting of votes will be held for four Lok Sabha and nine Assembly seats spread in 10 states where the Monday bypolls saw voter turnout swinging between a low of 40% and a high of 90%.

The bypolls, which came a fortnight after the Karnataka polls, is seen as a litmus test for both the camps, as the results could boost cadres' morale in an election year. All the Lok Sabha seats are sitting NDA seats and a loss could have an adverse impact on the BJP.

The bypolls went without any incident, but allegations of "large-scale" EVM/VVPAT malfunctioning surfaced with Opposition parties questioning the machines playing truant, calling it "unusual". The BJP too joined the bandwagon as both the groups met the Election Commission (EC) separately to raise concerns.

54% in Kairana

One of the closely watched contests was in Uttar Pradesh's Kairana Lok Sabha constituency, where 54.17% votes were polled. The Opposition has put up a joint candidate, Hassan of RLD, against BJP's Mriganka Singh who is trying to retain her late father Hukum Singh's seat.

If the Opposition manages to win the seat, it would be a repeat of the experiment in Gorakhpur and Phulpur and would cement its strategy of fighting the BJP together. This is one poll where the BJP would try and prevent such a development that would have an impact in the parliamentary polls. The Opposition is also repeating the same formula in Uttar Pradesh's Noorpur Assembly seat which recorded 61% polling.

Another interesting contest is in Palghar where NDA allies BJP and Shiv Sena are locking horns. The Shiv Sena, which has already announced its intent to fight general elections alone, poached Shrinivas Wanaga, the son of BJP's late MP Chintaman Wanaga. The BJP has fielded Congress turncoat Rajendra Gavit.

In Bhandara-Gondiya, the Congress is supporting NCP candidate Madhukar Kukde who is keen to wrest the seat from the BJP, whose sitting MP Nana Patole had resigned to join the Congress earlier.

A keen contest is also being witnessed in Bihar's Jokihat where sitting MLA Sarfaraz Alam joined the RJD to fight Lok Sabha bypoll. The JD(U) would try to see that the Muslim-Yadav formula does not work for the RJD.

74.6% turnout in Chengannur

A steady spell of morning showers did not dampen the voter turnout in the Assembly byelection held in Chengannur, in Alappuzha district of Kerala. The constituency recorded a 74.6% turnout at 6 pm.

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Bypolls incident-free; all eyes on Kairana

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