Voting begins for ‘prestige’ by-poll for 2 seats in Gujarat, Jharkhand
Voting has begun for by-polls to one Assembly seat each in Gujarat and Jharkhand in what is seen as a prestige battle for the ruling BJP in both states.
What makes the by-poll interesting is the timing of the elections, coming just a week after the BJP lost three key states to the Congress in the north – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
In Gujarat, the election in Congress bastion Jasdan was necessitated as its veteran representative and Koli community leader Kunwarji Bawaliya joined the BJP after resigning from both the legislature and the party; he was named a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in the state in July.
Pitted against Bawaliya, who is a four time MLA and a one term MP, is Congress’s Avsar Nakia.
The Congress in its campaign tried to turn the contest into test of the Rupani government’s performance. The fact that Rupani did not campaign for Bawaliya was projected by the Congress as sign of his nervousness.
In Jharkhand’s Kolebira assembly bypoll the main contest is between the Congress, BJP and Jharkhand Party.
The BJP has fielded Basant Soreng, while the Congress candidate is Viksal Kongadi. The Jharkhand Party has put up Menon Ekka. The Congress is supported by all the opposition parties except the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
The Kolebira seat fell vacant after Enos Ekka was convicted in the murder case of a teacher and awarded life sentence.