Explained: Why bypolls in 14 states are crucial ahead of Assembly elections
The country is set to witness assembly elections in five states next year. But before that, by-elections to three Lok Sabha seats and 30 assembly seats spread across 14 states will capture the political pulse of the country.
These bypolls are being held amid fears of the third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the ongoing farmers' agitation. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and many state governments will be keenly watching these polls.
The seats where Lok Sabha by-elections will be held are Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. In Khandwa, elections were necessitated due to the death of BJP MP Nandkumar Chauhan, while in Himachal, Mandi is vacant since the death of BJP leader Ramswaroop Sharma. The Dadra and Nagar Haveli seat was left vacant due to the demise of Mohan Delkar, an Independent Lok Sabha member.
Similarly, the Vidhan Sabha bypolls will be held this year on one seat in Andhra Pradesh, five in Assam, three in Madhya Pradesh, two in Bihar, one in Haryana, three in Himachal Pradesh, two in Karnataka, one in Maharashtra, three in Meghalaya, one in Mizoram and Nagaland, two in Rajasthan, one in Telangana and four in West Bengal.
BJP keenly watching
The BJP leadership is taking these upcoming bypolls seriously, since they will depict the mood of the electorate. The party is in power in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka - some of the states where bypolls will be held. It will give a chance to the BJP to understand if it is facing anti-incumbency.
The BJP has rejigged some of the governments in the states and these bypolls will give it a chance to understand the impact of those decisions.
A highly charged political landscape
Rajasthan sports minister Ashok Chandna on Wednesday claimed that the Congress will win both the seats in bypolls in the state, and said he will quit politics if the BJP wins even a single seat.
Hitting back, BJP's state chief spokesperson Ramlal Sharma said the "minister's ego will definitely be broken when the results will be declared".
The BJP has included former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, Union ministers Bhupendra Yadav, Gajendra Singh, Arjun Meghwal and Kailash Chaudhary in the list of 20 star campaigners for the bypolls on Vallabhnagar (Udaipur) and Dhariyawad (Pratapgarh) assembly seats in the state.
Congress leader Kamal Nath, who has been campaigning in Khandwa, has said that the results of the upcoming bypolls in Madhya Pradesh will give a message to the nation that people can't be fooled every time. Nath hit out at the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in MP and said people are distressed due to rising prices and a downturn in the economy.
The polling will be held on October 3 and counting of votes will take place on November 2.