It’s a mini-national voting with bypolls for 51 seats in 16 states
In MP, the sole seat going to polls is crucial for Congress to win as it could help it reach 115 mark in the 230-member assembly.
In Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Yogi Adityanath-led BJP is aiming to snatch Rampur and Jalalpur from Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party respectively. Out of the 11 seats in the state where bypolls are being held, the BJP has allotted one seat to its ally Apna Dal.
The BJP faces the toughest battle in Rampur, the bastion of SP leader Mohd Azam Khan who is being prosecuted by the UP Police on several counts. The SP has fielded Khan’s wife and RS member Tazeem Fatma, who has been booked along with Khan in a battery of cases.
In Bihar, the JD(U) is set to contest four out of five seats which were earlier retained by the party, and the BJP will contest one seat, Kishanganj. If Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) party loses any of the four seats it had won in 2015, chief minister Nitish Kumar would be pushed further by its ally BJP. The opposition RJD and Congress have come together to contest the bypolls.
In Gujarat, the Congress is striving to retain two seats it had won in 2015, among the six seats where bypolls will be held. Both the winning MLAs, Alpesh Thakor and Dhwal Sinh Zala, have crossed over to the BJP and are BJP candidates from Radhanpur and Bayad. The Congress is expected to face an uphill task as it seeks to reverse the losing trend and win seats despite MLAs shifting sides.
In Assam, out of the four seats for which bypolls will be held, the BJP had won three seats and the Congress had won one. It will be the first big test for the BJP after the release of the final list of the National Register of Citizens, as the Congress will try to cash in on the resentment over the NRC. If the BJP maintains its winning performance, it would be a big boost to the government in the state two years before the assembly election.
The Congress hopes to do well in the bypolls in five seats in Kerala, where it performed well in this year’s LS election. But the party is cautious after losing the recent by-election of Pala. The BJP has high hopes for Manjeshwar seat, which it had lost to the Indian Union Muslim league by 89 votes in 2016.
In Punjab, CM Amarinder Singh would try to cement his position in the party with victory in bypolls in four constituencies. In 2017, the Congress had won only one out of four, Mukerian, while one each were won by the BJP, AAP and Akali Dal.
In Rajasthan, if the Congress manages to win even one seat out of Mandawa and Khinwsar, where bypolls are being held, it would strengthen the government and the ruling party, which currently has 106 MLAs.
Jhabua, the sole seat for bypoll is being held in Madhya Pradesh, is also crucial for the Congress to win as it could make it reach the 115 mark in the 230-member assembly.
Besides, by-elections will be held for three seats in Sikkim, two seats in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, and one each in Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Telangana, Puducherry and Chhattisgarh.