Bypolls to 3 LS and 33 assembly seats tomorrow

By-elections will be held in 3 Lok Sabha and 33 assembly constituencies spread across ten states on tomorrow (13 September) in what could be yet another test of Narendra Modi government's popularity since the last by-poll which Modi obviously lost.

The three Lok Sabha constituencies where bypolls will be conducted include Vadodara (Gujarat), Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) and Medak (Telangana) while 11 assembly constituencies are in UP, nine in Gujarat, four in Rajasthan, two in West Bengal, five in Northeastern states and one each in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Counting of votes is scheduled for 16 September.

Stakes are high for BJP, Congress, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh after the saffron party's near-total sweep of the 80 seats in Lok Sabha polls just four months ago while Trinamool Congress battles to retain two assembly seats in West Bengal in the face of Saradha chit fund scam that has already ensnared some of its leaders.

The Manipuri Look Sabah seat was vacated by SP supreme Malaya Singh Yana who had won from two LS seats, including Azamgarh while the BJP faces the challenge of holding on to the 11 assembly seats won earlier by the party.

BJP chief Amit Shah also faces the challenge in the bypolls in UP as he is considered the main strategist behind the party's stupendous success in last Lok Sabha poll.

While BSP, which drew a blank in Lok Sabha polls, is not contesting the by-elections, Congress and SP have fielded candidates in all the 11 assembly seats and BJP is contesting in 10 and its ally Apna Dal in one.

The 11 assembly seats in UP, whose outcome may be a pointer to which way the political wind is blowing in the run up to 2017 assembly polls, are Saharanpur Nagar, Noida, Thakurdwara, Bijnor, Nighasan, Balha, Sirathu, Rohaniya, Hamirpur, Charkhari and Lucknow East. All of these were vacated by BJP MLAs who won the Lok Sabha elections.

In Gujarat, Narendra Modi's successor as chief minister in Gujarat, Anandiben Patel, faces her first big test when by-elections are held for Vadodara LS seat and in nine assembly constituencies.

Medak LS seat, once part of undivided Andhra Pradesh and now in Telangana, witnesses a triangular contest between ruling TRS, BJP, and Congress. The bypoll was necessitated as TRS chief and chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao vacated the seat.

TDP is trying hard to prove it won't be easy to conquer its bastion Nandigama assembly in Krishna district where it is in a direct fight against Congress. The byelection was forced by the death of TDP MLA Tangirala Prabhakara Rao within days of his victory.

In West Bengal, Chowringhee and Dakshin Bashirhat assembly seats had been won by CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress for which the bypolls are a crucial test of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's popularity.

BJP hopes to wrest the Bashirhat Dakshin seat from Trinamool and make its debut in the state assembly.

The party's Lok Sabha candidate Samik Bhattacharjee had led from the assembly segment in Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 Lok Sabha polls by 30,000 votes and in Chowringhee, a part of South Kolkata Lok Sabha constituency, TMC had trailed by 1,500 votes to Congress candidate Somen Mitra in Lok Sabha election.

In Rajasthan, Weir in Bharatpur, Nasirabad in Ajmer, Surajgarh  in Jhunjhunu and Kota South, will elect new MLAs as Congress seeks to recover from its worst performance ever of 21 seats in Rajasthan assembly and BJP pulls all the stops to ensure its historic tally of 163 of the 200 assembly seats.