Bypoll results to give a preview of national mood

Bypoll results to give a preview of national mood

While the BJP was retaining six of the Assembly seats, the rest was divided almost equally between Congress and regional parties

Representative image. Credit: PTI photo

Results of bypolls in three Lok Sabha and 29 Assembly seats in 13 states and one UT on Tuesday will give a preview of the national mood ahead of the 2022 elections in seven states.

While the BJP was retaining six of the Assembly seats, the rest was divided almost equally between Congress and regional parties. Regional parties like the TMC and the AAP are now seeking to challenge the Opposition space occupied mainly by the Congress at the Centre.

The outcome will also have a bearing on at least two political dynasties — Chautalas in Haryana and late Virbhadra Singh's in Himachal Pradesh. Among the prominent ones contesting are also former national footballer Eugeneson Lyngdohdates whose fate will be decided.

The bypolls in Sindgi and Hangal are the first polls after Basavaraj Bommai became the chief minister replacing B S Yediyurappa.

Bye-elections for these seats — Assam (5), West Bengal (4), Madhya Pradesh (3), Himachal Pradesh (3) and Meghalaya (3), Bihar (2), Karnataka (2) and Rajasthan (2) and one seat each in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram and Telangana besides in UT Dadar and Nagar Haveli — were held on October 30.

Among the prominent candidates are INLD leader Abhay Chautala in Haryana and Pratibha Singh, wife of late chief minister Virbhadra Singh from Congress, in Himachal Pradesh.

Chautala, son of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala and MLA from Ellenabad had quit the Haryana Assembly in protest against the three new farm laws passed by the Centre, putting his rival nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala in the BJP-led Haryana government.

This time he is pitted against BJP's Gobind Kanda, the brother of Haryana Lokhit Party chief and controversial legislator Gopal Kanda.

The election for the seat indicated a triangular contest whose outcome would be crucial for Chautalas whose family is now divided into two groups. 

The Mandi Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh is another key seat where the political legacy of the late Virbadhra Singh will be put to test with his wife Pratibha contesting to retain the family foothold in the party.

The contest is keen as the BJP has fielded Kargil war hero Khushal Singh Thakur against her. 

Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are two Lok Sabha seats, where bypolls were held. By-poll in the three Lok Sabha seats were necessitated due to the death of sitting MPs. Two of them Ramswaroop Sharma (Mandi) and Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan ( Khandwa) belonged to BJP while the third Mohan Delkar in Dadra and Nagar Haveli was a seven-time Independent MP. Delkar's wife Kalaben is now the Shiv Sena candidate against BJP and Congress.

Lyngdoh in Meghalaya and ex-minister from Telangana Etela Rajender, who was removed in June from the state cabinet over allegations of land grabbing are among prominent candidates. Shifting loyalty, the former TRS MLA is contesting as BJP candidate this time. BJP has of late been emerging in the state and a win will boost its morale ahead of 2023 state polls.

In Assam, Congress has redrawn its strategy and is contesting alone on five seats, leaving its former ally AIUDF and BPF to contest on their own while the ruling BJP has gone for an alliance, keeping three for itself and leaving the other two for the UPPL.

In West Bengal, the seat represented by BJP's Nisith Pramanik had fallen vacant as he resigned after becoming a Lok Sabha MP and subsequently Union Minister. Retaining the seat is a prestige issue for the BJP, which has, after losing the state polls, seen a reverse migration of previously inducted TMC leaders back to Mamata Banerjee's fold. Both Dinhata and Santipur seats won by BJP fell vacant as its MLAs contested and won Lok Sabha polls.

Two seats in Rajasthan had fallen vacant due to one MLA from each Congress and BJP. The election comes amid internal dissension in the ruling Congress in the state between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.

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