Uttar Pradesh bypolls: Rampur Sadar to vote for sixth time in as many years
The voter turnout in Rampur Lok Sabha election was 63%, in the 2022 assembly election in Rampur Sadar it fell to 56%, and then in the 2022 LS bypoll it plummeted to 41%.
Voters in Rampur Sadar assembly segment will exercise their franchise for the sixth time since 2017 on December 5 when a bypoll will be held there to fill the Vidhan Sabha seat that fell vacant after the disqualification of senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan following his conviction in a 2019 hate speech case.
No other constituency in the state has seen so many elections in six years, averaging one election per year.
Rampur Sadar electors have voted in the 2017 and 2022 assembly elections, the 2019 assembly bypoll, the 2019 Lok Sabha election and the 2022 LS bypolls. Now, they will queue up for the 2022 assembly bypoll just about six months after they exercised their franchise in June 2022 during the Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll.
The Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll was necessitated by Azam Khan vacating the seat to retain the Rampur Sadar assembly seat that he won for the 10th time in March.
“Certainly, this is too many elections and too frequent. But whatever the circumstances leading up to them, the elections have to be held within a prescribed time limit whenever the seat falls vacant,” said SK Dwivedi, a political analyst and former head of the department of political science, at Lucknow University.
Rampur Sadar residents had voted in March 2017 when they elected Azam Khan as their MLA for the ninth time. He vacated the assembly seat after he won his first parliamentary election in April 2019.
The Rampur Sadar seat witnessed an assembly bypoll in October 2019 in which the voters elected Azam’s wife Tazeen Fatima as their MLA. Azam Khan again contested the Rampur Sadar assembly poll in March 2022 and won. This time, Azam Khan vacated his Lok Sabha seat to retain the assembly seat, necessitating bypolls for the Rampur parliamentary seat and the BJP won it for the first time.
Now, the BJP is looking to win the Rampur Sadar assembly seat for the first time.
The constituency is witnessing a tough contest between the SP and the BJP.
“But this certainly causes disinterest in the voters and the frequent elections are a big drain on public money as elections in India have become a costly affair. Of course, political, constitutional, and election experts have been mulling over ways to reduce the frequency of voters’ going out to vote, but so far there is no solution in sight. The idea of having Lok Sabha election and assembly elections together is not looking feasible for such a large country,” said SK Dwivedi.
The disinterest he talks about is visible in the voter turnout data of successive by-elections in Rampur. The voter turnout in Rampur Lok Sabha election was 63%, in the 2022 assembly election in Rampur Sadar it fell to 56%, and then in the 2022 LS bypoll it plummeted to 41%.
“Let’s see how the turnout goes this time. No doubt, we are a unique constituency in terms of the frequency of voting,” said Virendra Goel, the Samajwadi Party’s officiating district president of Rampur.