Seven Assembly seats in six states will see counting of votes today for bye-elections held on September 5. These polls are being seen as an acid test for the Opposition bloc INDIA as it aims to take on the BJP in the Assembly polls this year and the general election next year.
The seven seats that went to the polls earlier this month are Bageshwar in Uttarakhand, Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh, Puthuppally in Kerala, Dhupguri in West Bengal, Dumri in Jharkhand, and Boxanagar and Dhanpur in Tripura. The counting of votes begins at 8 am.
Among the seven seats, Dhanpur, Bageshwar and Dhupguri were held by the BJP. The seats in UP and Jharkhand were held by Samajwadi Party and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, respectively. Tripura’s Boxanagar seat and Kerala’s Puthupally were with the CPM and the Congress, respectively.
The Ghosi seat was vacated after sitting legislator and OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan rejoined the BJP. The Akhilesh Yadav-led party is now trying to retain control on Ghosi.
In Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar, the bypolls were held after the death of four-time MLA and cabinet minister Chandan Ram Das in April. Kerala’s Puthupally seat was vacated by the death of former Chief Minister and Congress veteran Oommen Chandy.
In Tripura, the CPM has announced that it will boycott the counting. It has alleged large-scale malpractice during voting in the two constituencies.
In West Bengal’s Dhupguri, the CPM and Congress have joined forces to take on the ruling Trinamool. Incidentally, all the three parties are part of the INDIA bloc.