Bypolls to 1 MP, 56 MLA seats in November
The Election Commission on Tuesday set the dates for elections to 56 assembly seats across 11 states and a lone parliamentary constituency in Bihar that will take place amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The bypolls will dovetail with the three-phase assembly elections in Bihar, set for October 28, November 3 and 7.
In the by-elections, voters in 54 assembly constituencies across 10 states will choose their legislators on November 3;the electorate in two assembly constituencies in Manipur will vote on November 7, together with electors in Bihar’s Balmiki Nagar parliamentary constituency.
The results of the elections will be declared by November 12 at the latest, with counting taking place on November 10.
A team from the Election Commission, meanwhile, left for Patna on Tuesday to assess the situation in Bihar by holding discussions with district- and state-level officials ahead of the first full-fledged electoral exercise following the outbreak of Covid-19.
Nearly 72 million voters will choose their representatives to the 243-member Bihar assembly with strict health protocols in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The Election Commission has put off elections to seven assembly constituencies across Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal where the term of the legislature is due to lapse in either May or June next year. People familiar with the matter had earlier told Hindustan Times that it does not make sense to hold the elections in Kerala, where there are only two vacancies and the assembly is due to be re-elected before June 2021.
“In the midst of this pandemic and considering the devastation caused due to the floods, it would be unnecessarily expensive to hold the bypolls,” one person had said, adding that a representation to defer the polls had been sent to the Commission in August.
The Commission will hold bypolls to assembly constituencies in Chhattisgarh (1), Gujarat (8), Haryana (1), Jharkhand (2), Karnataka (2), Manipur (2), Nagaland (2), Odisha (2), Madhya Pradesh (28), Telangana (1) and Uttar Pradesh (7).
It will also hold a by-election to the Balmiki Nagar parliamentary constituency, which fell vacant on the death of Baidyanath Prasad Mahato in February.
In Madhya Pradesh, three seats fell vacant because of the death of their assembly representatives and 25 because of Congress lawmakers switching sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress government of Madha Pradesh collapsed in March because of a rebellion by MLAs owing allegiance to Jyotiraditya Scindia, who left the party for the BJP.
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana had also written to the Commission to defer the polls in the wake of the pandemic, aside from Kerala, Hindustan Times reported on August 10.
“The Election Commission had received representation from these states,” said a second person familiar with the matter. “At that point, it had temporarily deferred the elections. But now these states have re-evaluated the situation and feel polls can be held in line with the Election Commission’s schedule.”