New Delhi, May 30: Repolling will be held at 73 polling stations of Kairana parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh and 49 polling stations in Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondiya parliamentary constituency on Wednesday, following the failure of paper trail machines on Monday’s by-elections.

The Election Commission yesterday agreed to the repolling recommendation and decided to conduct them between 7 AM and 6 PM. The opposition parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party and others too had demanded fresh polling in several polling stations in Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya.

Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat, however, tried to play down the matter. “So, out of 1,700-odd polling stations of Kairana, fresh polling would be done in only 73 and out of 2,149 polling stations of Bhandara-Gondiya, only 49 would go for fresh polling tomorrow under the Section 58 of the Representation of People’s Act,” Rawat said.

Meanwhile, the EC also shunted out Gondiya’s District Magistrate (DM) and the new DM assumed charge on Tuesday.

The poll panel also ordered fresh polling in one polling station in Nagaland. The poll panel has attributed the VVPAT malfunctioning to extreme heat, exposure to direct sunlight and mishandling of machines by staff during the polling.  On Monday, bypolls were held in four Lok Sabha seats and 10 assembly seats.

Kairana:
The 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. Located around 630 km from capital city of Lucknow, the Lok Sabha constituency has five assembly segments namely Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district. There are nearly 17 lakh voters in the constituency with a significant number of Muslims, Jats and Dalit voters.

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 Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Tabassum Hasan, who is supported by the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. The ruling BJP, on the other hand, is making extra efforts to retain the seat to try and send a strong message to voters, party cadres as well as the opposition parties — that the drubbing in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bye-elections was an aberration, and that it was still strong in western UP.

According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana and 54 per cent had turned out to vote on Monday.Maharashtra:

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.

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.

The counting of all the constituencies will be held on May 31.

(With agencies inputs)