The stage is set for a direct contest between the BJP and Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance in the bypolls to one Lok Sabha and two assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
The BSP and the Congress are not contesting from the seats.
Polling will be held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, while the results will be declared on December 8.
According to a statement issued by the office of Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer, 24.43 lakh people will exercise their voting rights in the bypolls.
This includes 13.14 lakh male voters, 11.29 lakh female voters and 132 third category voters, it said.
Voting will take place at 3,062 polling booths located in 1,945 polling centres.
While the bypoll to the Mainpuri parliamentary seat is taking place due to the death of Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, in Rampur Sadar and Khatauli, the polls were necessitated after SP MLA Azam Khan and BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini were disqualified following their conviction in different cases.
While Khan was disqualified after a court awarded him three-year imprisonment in a 2019 hate speech case, Saini lost his membership of the assembly after his conviction in a 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case.
The outcomes of the bypolls will not have any impact on the central or the state governments as the BJP enjoys a comfortable majority at both levels.
However, the victory would provide a psychological advantage, ahead of the 2024 general elections.
In Mainpuri, there are six candidates in the fray, 14 candidates are contesting from Khatauli and 10 from Rampur Sadar, according to the Election Commission.
In Mainpuri, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s elder daughter-in-law and SP president Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav is pitted against BJP’s Raghuraj Singh Shakya.
The BJP candidate, who was once a close associate of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party chief and Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, joined the saffron party ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls held earlier this year.
The BJP in Rampur Sadar has fielded Akash Saxena, who is the son of former party MP Shiv Bahadur Saxena, against senior SP leader Azam Khan’s protege Asim Raja, while in Khatauli, the fight is between Vikram Singh Saini’s wife Rajkumari Saini and Madan Bhaiya from the RLD.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak, and UP BJP president Bhupendra Chaudhary have been among the top campaigners for the BJP.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has also led an aggressive campaign for his wife in Mainpuri and attended a rally along with Azam Khan and Dalit leader Chandrasekhar Azad in Rampur Sadar to seek votes for the party’s nominee Asim Raza.
Meanwhile, the election commission has arranged webcasting at polling booths in the three constituencies. The webcasting will be supervised at all three levels — the district election officer, the chief electoral officer and the Election Commission of India.
Video camera teams have been also deputed in the three constituencies.
Central Armed Police Forces have been deployed as well. They will also keep vigil on strong rooms in which EVMs will be kept after polling.
The ECI has deputed three general observers, three expenditure observers and three police observers. In addition, 288 sector magistrates, 48 zonal magistrates, and 636 micro-observers have been deputed.
Along with 13,777 polling personnel, 778 heavy vehicles and 1004 light vehicles have been pressed into service to complete the election process, he said.