New Delhi, May 27:  Bypolls to 10 Assembly constituencies and four Lok Sabha seats across 10 states are scheduled to take place on May 28, i.e on Monday. Polling will start at 7 AM. After losing Karnataka to Congress-JD(S) combine, the upcoming bye-election will be important for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2019. In the recent Karnataka elections, BJP emerged as the biggest party but fell nine seats short of a majority whereas, Congress-JD(S) came into an alliance and formed the government in the state.

On Thursday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced dates for Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls to be held in 10 states. Voting for Lok Sabha bye-election in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland and Assembly bypolls in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Kerala, Meghalaya Punjab and West Bengal will be held today.

The by-polls in Maharashtra will be held on Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar Lok Sabha constituencies whereas, Kairana seat will go to polls in Uttar Pradesh. Nagaland Lok Sabha seat will also witness polling today.

The Assembly bypolls is scheduled today on Jokihat (Bihar), Gomia, Silli (Jharkhand), Chengannur (Kerala), Plaus Kadegaon (Maharashtra), Ampati (Meghalaya), Shahkot (Punjab), Thralai (Uttarakhand), Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Maheshtala (West Bengal).

The counting of votes for all the seats will be held on May 31.

Uttar Pradesh:
After losing two Lok Sabha by-elections, held in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, in March this year, both Kairana and Noorpur hold great importance for the BJP. Kairana constituency in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh has virtually assumed the dimension of a strategic player in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The constituency fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, whose daughter Mriganka Singh is now the party’s candidate for the bypoll. She is fighting against Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Tabassum Hasan, who is supported by the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Meanwhile, in Noorpur, the fight is likely to be between BJP’s Avnish Singh and SP’s Naim Ul-Hasan. Also in the fray are Lok Dal’s Gohar Iqbal, Rashtriya Janhit Sangharsh Party’s Zaheer Alam, Bharatiya Momin Front’s Maya, Uttar Pradesh Republican Party’s Ram Ratan, and four Independent candidates. Bypolls to the Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.

Maharashtra:
Bhandara-Gondiya seat fell vacant after Nana Patole of the BJP resigned last year and joined the Congress whereas, polling on Palgar seat was necessitated following the demise of BJP MP Chintaman Wangaya.  Reports say that BJP has already received a jolt in Palghar with the Vanga family exiting BJP and joining its bitter ally Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena has fielded the late BJP MP’s son Srinivas Chintaman Vanga from the seat. Shrinivas will be facing BJP’s Gavit Rajendra Dhedya and Congress’s Damodar Barku Shingada.

On the other hand, Congress and Shiv Sena both are not contesting the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat where the main fight is between Hemant Patle of the BJP and Madhukar Kukde of the NCP. There are also eight Independents and one candidate each from Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, Bahujan Republican Socialist Party, Baliraja Party, Bahujan Mukti Party, Akhil Bharatiya Manavta Paksha, Ambedkarite Party of India, Gondvana Gantantra Party and Vidarbha Maza Party.

Nagaland:
The by-poll to the sole parliamentary seat in Nagaland will be a tough contest between ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) Tokheho Yepthomi and C Apok Jamir of the Naga People’s Front (NPF). The by-poll was necessitated after NDPP’s Neiphiu Rio resigned to take on the role of Nagaland chief minister in March this year.

Meghalaya:
For Ampati Assembly constituency in Meghalaya, there are only three candidates in the fray including NPP’s Clement G Momin, Congress’ Miami D Shira, and Independent candidate Subhankar Koch.

Jharkhand:
Two Assembly constituencies — Sillia and Gomia — will witness polling in Jharkhand today. There are 23 candidates in the fray with alliance partners AJSU and BJP locking horns in Gomia. The seat will see BJP’s Madhav Lal Singh up against AJSU’s Lambodar Mahto and JMM’s Umesh Kumar Mahto. In Silli, AJSU has fielded its candidate Sudesh Kumar Mahto against RJD’s Jyoti Prasad.

Punjab:
Shahkot Assembly seat in Punjab will witness a triangular contest between the ruling Congress, Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Akali Dal legislator Ajit Singh Kohar in February this year. Kohar, a former minister, was elected five times from this seat. The Congress came back to power in the state in March last year after a gap of a decade.

Kerala:
Chengannur Assembly bypoll is a contest between CPM’s Saji Cheriyan, Congress’ D Vijaykumar, and BJP’s PS Sreedharan Pillai. Rashtriya Lok Dal, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), Aam Aadmi Party, Ambedkarite Party of India have also fielded their candidates for the seat. Bypoll on Chengannur seat was necessitated after the death of CPM legislator KK Ramachandran Nair in January.

Uttarakhand:
There are five candidates in the fray for Tharali Assembly seat. The BJP and Congress appear to be locked in a straight contest on the reserved (SC) seat as the former has fielded late Mangal Shah’s wife Munni Devi Shah while the latter fielded Professor Jeet Ram. The seat has traditionally been a BJP stronghold. Bypolls here were necessitated after the death of Mangal Shah in February this year.

West Bengal:
The Mahesthala Assembly bypoll will see a three-way contest between TMC, BJP, and the Congress-CPM alliance. TMC has fielded Dulal Chandra Das, husband of MLA Kasturi Das who passed away in February, while CPM has gone with Pravat Chowdhury. The BJP has fielded Sujit Kumar Ghosh.