Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is expected to march through the mandatory test to keep her job by winning Chennai’s RK Nagar seat where a by-election was held on Saturday, along with five other assembly constituencies across India.
The voter turnout was high (65%) and Jayalalithaa is the favourite to win the bypoll. She has to fulfill the constitutional requirement of getting elected as an MLA within six months of becoming chief minister.
Another constituency of interest is Garoth in Madhya Pradesh. The ruling BJP is hard-pressed to retain its traditional seat after an audio tape allegedly hinted at chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s fears of a defeat, just a day ahead of voting. This has raised the Congress’s hopes of a rare victory.
The BJP has fielded Chander Singh Sisodia against senior Congress leader Subhash Sojatia, a four-time MLA. The bypoll was needed after BJP MLA Rajesh Yadav passed away.
In Kerala, Aruvikkara saw a three-way contest with voters lining booths despite rains. The bypoll, required after the death of former Speaker and Congress leader G Karthikeyan, is a crucial test for both UDF and LDF before next year’s assembly polls.
The ruling UDF is banking on “welfare and development initiatives” of the four-year-old government. But the LDF and BJP attacked it on solar and bar bribe scams and the alleged corruption in the PWD ministry.
In Tripura, Pratapgarh and Surma constituencies witnessed healthy polling under heavy security and rain. For the first time, specially modified Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with candidates’ photos were used to check possible malpractices and other irregularities. In neighbouring Meghalaya, brisk polling was recorded at Chokpot constituency.
(With inputs from Agartala, Shillong and Thiruvananthapuram)