Members of Gujjar community stand in line as they wait their turn to cast their vote outside a polling station in Baba Nagri area in Kangan, some 50 km from Srinagar.(Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)
Members of Gujjar community stand in line as they wait their turn to cast their vote outside a polling station in Baba Nagri area in Kangan, some 50 km from Srinagar.(Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)

Bypolls highlights: RK Nagar polls cancelled, 8 killed in Srinagar violence

Former J-K chief minister Farooq Abdullah is candidate of NC-Congress alliance for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. Two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh go to polls amid controversies related to electronic voting machines.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondents
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2017 07:20 AM IST

Eight people were killed and more than two dozen injured on Sunday when police clashed with protesters during a by-election in Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley, a senior police official said.

Separatist factions in Kashmir had called for a boycott of the vote, resulting in heightened security and low voter turnout when the polling began.

The other assembly constituencies where elections were held are: Rajouri Garden (Delhi), Litipara (Jharkhand), Nanjangud and Gundlupet (Karnataka), Dholpur (Rajasthan), Kanthi Dakshin (West Bengal), Ater and Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh), Bhoranj (Himachal Pradesh) and Dhemaji (Assam).

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah is contesting the Srinagar seat that fell vacant after the resignation of Peoples Democratic Party leader Tariq Hameed Karra during last year’s unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Preceded by controversies related to electronic voting machines, Ater and Bandhavgarh (ST) assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh go to polls on Sunday.

While counting for the Lok Sabha by-election will be held on April 15, votes for the assembly bypolls will be counted on April 13.

(Scroll to the bottom for a box explaining state-wise implications of the bypolls)

Here are the live updates:

10.36pm: Election Commission cancels RK Nagar bypolls scheduled for April 12 in Chennai due to evidence of cash-for-vote scheme

9.35pm: Polling booth at J-K’s govt high school in Arihal, Pulwama, set ablaze by unknown persons ahead of Anantnag LS bypoll scheduled for April 12, reports ANI

9.21pm: Police station attacked in Kulgam’s Yaripora

9.10pm: Movement of all security forces halted to avoid further casualties in Srinagar. Poll staff and security officers asked to take shelter at nearest police station or army camp

8.45pm: Death toll in Srinagar rises to 8 as one more person dies in Kurhama Ganderbal. Fresh firing erupts in Zakura, injures 4

8.17pm: Internet services to remain suspended throughout Kashmir Valley till Anantnag bypolls are held on April 12, PTI reports

7.30 pm: Rajouri Garden constituency reported a poor turnout of only 47%. In the 2015 assembly polls, this west Delhi constituency had recorded over 72% turnout. While an EVM was replaced in one booth, VVPATs were replaced at 38 booths.

“All VVPATs were replaced due to technical errors and none of them were replaced due to complaints of wrong voting,” Delhi chief electoral officer, Chandra Bhushan Kumar told HT.

7.00 pm: One more casualty reported at Chadoora in Budgam district, taking to toll up to seven. There are also reports of firing at Nowhatta area near Srinagar.

6.00 pm: Death toll climbs to six in Kashmir. ANI reports that the voter turnout in the Srinagar bypoll is 6.5%. Chief election officer Shanta Manu adds that around 200 incidents of violence were reported across the region, injuring security personnel as well.

5.30 pm: Separatists call for two-day strike from Monday in to protest the deaths during clashes with security forces, reports PTI.

5:00 pm: Poll turnout for by-elections in various states are as follows:

• 56.35 % cast votes in Dhemaji, Assam till 3 pm.

• 35 % cast votes in Rajouri Garden, Delhi till 3 pm.

• 53 % voter turnout was recorded in Ater, Madhya Pradesh and over 52 % in Bandhavgarh till 3 pm.

• 69 % voting in Dholpur Assembly, Rajasthan till 4 PM

4:40 pm: Omar Abdullah tweets the death toll at 6.

4:35 pm: Rajouri Garden assembly by-election recorded 33% polling till 3 pm: ECI

4:30 pm: ANI reports a clash broke out between O Panneerselvam and TTV Dinakaran supporters at RK Nagar.

4:10 pm: Littipara constituency in Jharkhand has recorded 68% polling till 3pm.

3:54 pm: 45 % polling till 2.30 pm in Karnataka assembly bypolls.

3:47 pm: Toll goes up to five as protestors clash with security personnel in Budgam. 36 people injured including poll officials.

3:00 pm: Eye-witnesses say one more person killed in Chadoora area in Budgam district. No official confirmation yet.

2: 54 pm: Over 43.5 % votes cast in Assam’s Dhemaji constituency seat till 1 pm. The bypoll for the assembly seat of Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh saw 47 % voting till 1 pm.

Gallery | By-Elections 2017: Five killed in Kashmir poll violence

In Assam, technical faults were reported in some of the polling booths and eight EVMs and 28 Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines had to be replaced till noon.

2.10pm: Littipara constituency in Jharkhand has recorded 52% polling till 1pm. The Election commission, based on a complaint that voting could not start by 9.30am at booth no-173 and 223, sought report from Pakur district election officer. VVPATs were changed in 10 places.

2.05pm: Ater constituency in MP has recorded 41.44% polling and Bandhavgarh has polled 41.60% voting till 1 pm, according to Election Commission.

2pm: Madhya Pradesh chief election commissioner denies booth capturing in bypolls, says situation is under control at all polling booths.

1.10pm: Polling has been peaceful so far in Nanjangud and Gundlupet assembly constituencies of Karnataka and 20-25% of votes have been cast till noon in both the seats amid tight security, said an official of the Election Commission.

12.40pm: At least 3 people have died due to clashes between protestors and security personnel during voting for by-election to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, said official sources and hospital administration.

12.38pm: Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Arun Yadav alleged that about 35 polling officers had been taken to unknown locations since Saturday night. “We will complain to the Election Commission about booth capturing,” he said.

12.35pm: Jharkhand’s Littipara constituency has recorded 38% polling till 11am.

The BJP has lodged a complaint against Hiranpur block development officer alleging that he supported particular party.

The Election Commission has asked Pakur district election officer for a probe. At Nawadih, voting started late due to technical fault in EVM machine.

12.30pm: Another injured in the Srinagar clashes died, taking the toll to 2.

12.28pm: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said he had never saw in his 20 years of political career such a bad situation for elections and campaigning, and blamed the state government and Centre for such a situation.

12.25pm: Srinagar Lok Sabha seat candidate Farooq Abdullah said elections should have been peaceful had the BJP-PDP government ensured peaceful atmosphere for people to come and vote.

12.20pm: Srinagar Lok Sabha candidate Farooq Abdullah and son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah cast their votes.

Farooq Abdullah and Omar Obadullah after casting their votes in Srinagar bypoll. (ANI)
Farooq Abdullah and Omar Obadullah after casting their votes in Srinagar bypoll. (ANI)

11.50am: Rajouri Garden assembly constituency in West Delhi has recorded at least 11% votes till 11am. Raju Singh, a resident of the area, said :“Since it is a Sunday, people will come out to vote in late afternoon. Also, the focus is now on corporation elections.”

11.25am: After Dalwan Pakerpora and Nasrullahpora,clashes have erupted between protesters and security forces in Chadoora. Four have been injured, reports ANI.

11.20am: Polling peaceful in West Bengal’s Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat with 22% votes till 10am.

11.10am: The car of Congress candidate has allegedly been vandalised and two people beaten up and booth captured. Congress blames BJP supporters for the incident.

10.50am: One person was killed and five others were injured in clashes between security forces and protesters as polling for by-election to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency began here.

10.30am: Voting is going on peacefully for Littipara bypoll in Jharkhand. 15% polling has been recorded till 9am. In morning hours, number of women voters was higher than men.

10 .20am: Clash between protesters and Security personnel near polling station in Dalwan Pakerpora area of Budgam. Two people have been injured, news agency ANI has reported.

10.16am: Nanjangud (Karnataka) bypoll candidate from Congress, Kalale Krishnamurthy, wears a Congress symbol to the polling station.

Nanjangud Congress candidate Kalale Krishnamurthy wore Congress symbol inside polling station. (ANI)
Nanjangud Congress candidate Kalale Krishnamurthy wore Congress symbol inside polling station. (ANI)

10.15am: Four EVMs replaced due to fault in Bandhavgarh assembly bypolls in Madhya Pradesh.

10am: Ater assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh witnessed violence during polling on Sunday morning when a mob of villagers allegedly pelted stones at Congress candidate Hemant Katare’s car.

9.45am: Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken says the Rajouri Garden bypoll will be a referendum on two years of Arvind Kejriwal government.

9.40am: Rajouri Garden bypoll: Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken casts his vote, says the fight is between his party and the BJP both in the by-election and the municipal corporation election.

9.20am: Himachal Pradesh: Polling begins at booth number 51 in Bhoranj assembly bypoll (Hamirpur district) after fault in EVM rectified.

9.10am: Ater (Bhind) bypoll: Six police officials have been removed by the Election Commission after Congress candidate Hemant Katare alleged they were threatening people.

8.43am: Security has been tightened on voting day for Srinagar Lok Sabha bypolls.

8.32am:Polling has been delayed at booth number 51 in Bhoranj assembly (Hamirpur district) due to fault in EVM.

8.35am: Rajouri Garden bypoll: A polling official says only two votes casted at a booth in J block as machines not working.

Polling officials at a booth in Rajouri Garden on Sunday. (Abhinav Rajput/HT Photo)
Polling officials at a booth in Rajouri Garden on Sunday. (Abhinav Rajput/HT Photo)

8.20am: People have come out to vote in Kanthi Dakshin seat in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district.

7.25am: Voting underway for Bandhavgarh assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh.

7.15am: Authorities have suspended all internet services in the three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Gandarbal where voting is scheduled on Sunday for the parliamentary by-elections.

(With agency inputs)

Key poll battles on Sunday
The stage is set for bypolls in J&K, Assam, Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Delhi. HT takes a closer look on why these polls are crucial
Srinagar, J&K
Why: Resignation by then PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra from party and parliament
Key candidates: PDP’s Nazir Khan and NC president Farooq Abdullah
Implication: The bypoll is an acid test for chief minister Mehbooba Mufti especially in her stronghold Anantnag from where her brother Tassaduq Mufti is contesting against state Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir. On the other hand, the National Conference is hoping Omar Abdullah’s win from Srinagar will set the tone for its resurgence in the troubled state
Dhemaji, Assam
Why: Vacated last year by BJP’s Pradan Baruah who contested and won the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat that Sarbananda Sonowal had vacated after winning the Majuli assembly seat
Key candidates: BJP’s Ranoj Pegu and Babul Sonowal of Congress, though two Leftist candidates, Jadu Hazarika of CPM and Hemkanto Miri of Socialist Unity Centre of India Communist, could put up a stiff fight.
Implication: A victory will further strengthen the BJP in the state
Bhoranj, HP
Why: Death of sitting legislator from BJP, ID Dhiman
Key candidates: BJP’s Anil Dhiman, Son of former MLA ID Dhiman, and Congress’ Promila Devi
Implication: The outcome in this by-election will set the stage for the crucial assembly polls this year
Ater, MP
Why: Death of Congress leader and leader Opposition Satyadev Katare
Key candidates: Hemant Katare of Congress and BJP’s Arvind Bhadoriya
Bandhavgarh, MP
Why: Election of BJP’s Gyan Singh to Lok Sabha in a bypoll
Key candidates: Congress’ Savitri Singh and BJP’s Shivnarayan Singh.
Implication: A win in these two constituencies will further consolidate chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s position in the BJP
Kanthi Dakshin, Bengal
Why: MLA Dibyendu Adhikari resigned after he was elected to Lok Sabha last year
Key candidates: Trianmool Congress’ Chandrima Bhattacharya, Left Front’s Uttam Pradhan, and BJP’s Sourindramohan Jana
Implication: The BJP will be trying to gain some foothold in the state
Dholpur, Rajasthan
Why: BSP MLA BL Kushwah was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case
Key candidates: BJP’s Sobha Rani (wife of BL Kushwah) and Congress’s Banwari Lal Sharma
Nanjagud, Karnataka
Why: Congress MLA V Srinivasa Prasad quit and joined BJP
Key candidates: BJP’s Srinivasa Prasad and Congress’ Kalale Keshavamurthy
Gundlupet, Karnataka
Why: Death of minister HS Mahadev Prasad
Key candidates: Congress’ Geetha Mahadev Prasad (wife of HS Mahadev Prasad) and BJP’s Niranjan
Implication: CM Siddaramaiah is facing heat not only from opposition but within the Congress
Litipara, Jharkhand
Why: Death of JMM MLA Anil Murmu
Key candidates: BJP’s Hemlal Murmu, Simon Marandi (JMM), Kisto Soren of JVM (P)
Rajouri Garden, Delhi
Why: AAP MLA Jarnail Singh resigned to contest Punjab assembly election
Key candidates: AAP’s Harjeet Singh, BJP’s MS Sirsa, Congress’ Meenakshi Chandela
Implication: Defeat after Punjab will further weaken the AAP’s national campaign
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