Voting has begun in constituencies where by-elections are being held in seven states across the country. These are the first elections after the Centre announced the move to demonetise currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. While candidates in Assam, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal will also be contesting for the Lok Sabha seats, the ones in Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Puducherry will be vying for the Assembly seats. The Election Commission has made required arrangements for the elections to be conducted smoothly. Counting of votes will take place on November 22.
In Tamil Nadu, by-polls are being held in Thanjavur, Aravakurichi and Tiruparakundram seats. Almost 7.54 lakh voters are expected to choose among the 81 candidates from the AIADMK, DMK, BJP and MDMK parties. The results will be announced following the counting of votes that is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
According to a news agency, live webcasting of the voting process in 96 Aravakurichi booths and Thanjavur 275 booths will be monitored. In Puducherry’s Nellithope, Congress leader V Narayanasamy will be contesting against AIADMK nominee Om Shakthi Segar, reports in media.
In West Bengal, by-polls are being held in the Lok Sabha seats of Tamluk and Cooch Behar and the Assembly constituency of Monteshwar. Cooch Behar has the maximum number of contestants (10), followed by Tamluk (7) and Monteshwar (6). The polling would be carried out using 500 Electronic Voting machines spread across 4,121 polling stations.
While the by-polls in the parliamentary constituency of Cooch Behar and Monteswar Assembly seat was necessitated by the death of their previous leaders TMC MP Renuka Sinha and TMC MLA Sajal Panja, the election in Tamluk is taking place due to the resignation of the previous TMC MP Suvendu Adhikari who won the assembly election and joined the state cabinet.
In Tripura, by-elections will be held for assembly seats in Khowai and Barjala. Out of the 52 booths in Khowai, 10 have been designated as ‘A’ category while the rest have been put in the ‘B’ category. In Barjala, where there are 48 polling stations, the ratio stands at 1:3.
In Assam, voting is taking place across 2,200 polling stations in the parliamentary constituency of Lakhimpur and assembly constituency of Baithalangso. While the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat has been vacant since sitting MP Sarbananda Sonowal resigned to become the chief minister, Baithalangso’s legislator Mansing Rongpi resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP thus resulting in a vacant position.
There are five candidates in the fray for Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency from BJP, Congress, CPI and Socialist Unity Centre of India. Former BJP legislator from Doomdooma constituency, Dilip Moran has filed his nomination as an Independent candidate. The by-polls in Baithalangso will witness a contest between three candidates.
Security has been tightened in places with the deployment of central paramilitary forces in sensitive polling stations in Tripura. It is expected that PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move, aimed at tackling black money, is likely to have an impact on the by-polls.