The election comes after the saffron party's near-total sweep of the 80 seats in Lok Sabha polls just four months ago.

 

Eleven Assembly seats fell vacant after 10 BJP MLAs and one of its allies Apna Dal were elected to the Lok Sabha.

 

BJP chief Amit Shah also faces the challenge in the by-polls in Uttar Pradesh as he was credited with the party's stupendous success.

 

The three Lok Sabha bypolls are in Vadodara (Gujarat), Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) and Medak (Telangana). Among the assembly seats, nine in Gujarat, four in Rajasthan, two in West Bengal, five in Northeastern states and one each in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh are going to polls on Saturday.

 

Counting of votes is scheduled for September 16.

 

Retaining Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, vacated by Samajwadi Party supremo Mualayam Singh Yadav who had won from two Lok Sabha seats including Azamgarh, is a matter of prestige for his party. BSP and Congress have not fielded their candidates, leaving a straight contest between Tej Pratap Singh and BJP's Shiv Singh Shakya.

Also Read: Over 66 pc polling in Rajasthan by-polls

 

The 11 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, 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.

Read: AP by-polls: Over 65 percent voting in Medak, Nandigama

In Gujarat, Narendra Modi's successor as Chief Minister Anandiben Patel faces her first big test in by-elections being held on Saturday for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, vacated by Modi, and in nine assembly constituencies.

 

This is the first election in Gujarat in more than 12 years that BJP would be fighting without its star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also Read: Over 50 percent polling in UP by-polls

Polling began on a swift note for the by-election to Medak Lok Sabha seat in Telangana and Nandigama (SC) Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh.

 

By-election is being held in Medak as the Lok Sabha seat was vacated by Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao upon becoming Chief Minister of the newly-formed Telangana state.

 

Medak Lok Sabha 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.

On the other hand, 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 by-election was forced by the death of TDP MLA Tangirala Prabhakara Rao within days of his victory.

 

Voting was also underway in the lone insurgency-hit Antagarh assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh where only two candidates are in the fray.

 

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

 

Buyoed by its modest gains in Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and relying on Modi's charisma, BJP hopes to wrest the Bashirhat Dakshin seat from Trinamool and make its debut in the state assembly.

Assembly elections will be held in Maharashtra and Haryana in a single phase on October 15.

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