New Delhi: The voting for four Lok Sabha seats of Bihar, Gujarat and West Bengal and six assembly seats of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat is being seen as litmus test for both the ruling and opposition parties of the respective states.  

The Lok Sabha by-polls are due to be held for Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, Porbandar and Banaskantha seats in Gujarat and Howrah Parliamentary seat in West Bengal.

Counting of votes on June 5

Polling would be held from 8 am to 5 pm and counting of votes would be done on June 5.

Poll bound assembly segments are Yavatmal in Maharashtra, Handia in Uttar Pradesh and Morva Hadaf (ST), Limbdi, Dhoraji and Jetpur in the state of Gujarat.

In consonance with the past practice, the Election Commission has decided that the voters’ identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned by-elections at the time of poll.

Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) shall be the main document of identity of a voter. However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow other documents for identification of voters at the time of poll.

Triangular contest in Maharajganj

     
Rains played spoilsport on the last day of campaigning for Maharajganj Lok Sabha by-poll leading to cancellation of election meetings of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other leaders.
    
Maharajganj by-poll slated for June 2 is witnessing a triangular contest between JD(U), RJD and Congress candidates.
    
Though outcome of the by-poll would not have much political impact, it would be an indicator which way the wind was blowing before crucial 2014 Parliamentary elections.

RJD has pitted four-time MP Prabhunath Singh against JD(U)'s PK Shahi and Congress' Jitendra Swami in the hi-profile by-election.

The election has been necessitated after the death of RJD MP Umashankar Singh.

Battlelines drawn for Howrah LS by-poll
    
Battlelines have been drawn for the June 2 by-poll to the Howrah Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal which will be an acid test for the ruling Trinamool Congress in the backdrop of the Saradha scam which has defrauded thousands. In the wake of upcoming Panchayat elections, the by-poll bears an important significance.
    
The main contest will be a triangular one between the TMC, Congress and the CPI(M) though there are 13 candidates in the fray.
    
The Trinamool Congress has fielded India’s former football captain Prasun Banerjee while Congress has fielded lawyer Sanatan Mukherjee and CPI(M) Sridip Bhattacherjee, a former party district secretary.
    
Though BJP is not contesting on the instructions of national president Rajnath Singh, seen as a move to keep the door ajar for the TMC, a former NDA ally, a local BJP leader, Ranjan Pal, is in the fray as an Independent.
    
The Congress and the TMC, which have fallen apart, had fought the LS seat jointly in 2009. The TMC had emerged winner.
    
Victory in the seat would give a boost to the Mamata Banerjee government which has been tackling the fallout of the Saradha scam with the announcement of a Rs 500 crore corpus to financially assist the defrauded and the setting up of SIT and an inquiry commission.
    
The CPI(M) is hoping to cash in on the division of votes between the TMC and the Congress, the latter having a strong presence in the constituency, an industrial and rural one, with a total electorate of 14,47,174.
    
The election has been necessitated by the death of TMC MP Ambika Banerjee. 

Direct contest between BJP-Congress in Yavatmal by-poll
    
Campaigning for June 2 by-election to Yavatmal Assembly seat in east Maharashtra where Congress nominee Nandini Parvekar is pitted against former BJP MLA Madan Yerawar, ended with actress Nagma and industries minister Narayan Rane addressing a rally.
    
The by-poll was necessitated following the death of Nandini's husband and sitting legislator, Nilesh Parvekar, in road accident earlier this year.
    
Nilesh was an active member of the Rahul Gandhi brigade and one of the five Youth Congress leaders who were given party tickets by Rahul during the 2009 Maharashtra elections.
    
The contest became unavoidable as opposition BJP refused to oblige Congress' request to give Nandini a walkover.
    
Besides Nandini, 15 other candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the by-election. With the exception of BJP, the rest 14 candidates are contesting as Independents.
    
Voting for two LS, four Assembly seats in Gujarat    

Campaigning for the by-elections to two Lok Sabha and four Assembly seats in Gujarat ended on Friday and the voters will decide the candidates’ fate on June 2.
     
Stakes are high for the main opposition Congress, as it is fighting to retain these six seats.
     
The state leadership of BJP and Congress has mostly stayed away from campaigning. Chief Minister Narendra Modi did not campaign in any of the constituencies.
     
The two Lok Sabha seats where the by-polls are being held are Porbandar and Banaskantha, while the Assembly by-polls would be held at Dhoraji, Jetpur, Limbdi and Morva Hadaf.
     
Elections were necessitated at Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat and Morva Hadaf Assembly seat following the deaths of MP Mukesh Gadhvi and MLA Savita Khant, both of Congress. Khant passed away on December 30, the counting-day of state Assembly elections.
     
Porbandar MP Vithhal Radadia first resigned when he got elected as an MLA from Dhoraji on Congress ticket in the December Assembly elections.
     
Later, both Vithhal Radadia and his son Jayesh who had won from Jetpur Assembly seat resigned as Congress MLAs to join BJP. Now father and son are contesting respectively from Porbandar Lok Sabha and Jetpur Assembly seats on BJP tickets.
     
Sitting Congress MP from Surendranagar Soma Patel won from Limbdi Assembly seat in December, but chose to remain a member of Parliament and resigned as MLA. His son Satish Patel is facing former state minister Kiritsinh Rana of BJP in the by-election
    
At Morva Hadaf, Congress's candidate is Bhupendra Khant, son of Savita Khant.
     
Similarly, Congress has given ticket to Krishna Gadhvi, widow of Mukesh Gadhvi, in Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat.      

Eighteen candidates are in the fray for four Assembly seats and fifteen for the two Lok Sabha seats.
     
Voting will take place from 7 am to 6 pm instead of the usual 8 am to 5 pm. The time has been extended in view of the hot weather, said additional chief electoral officer Ashok Manek.

(JPN/Agencies)

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