Bypolls, a test of Modi's popularity

Bypolls, a test of Modi's popularity - Sakshi Post

The bypolls to 33 assembly and three Lok Sabha seats in 10 states are being viewed as a mini-referendom on Narendra Modi and his governance, particularly in view of the fact that Modi has just completed 100 days of governance.

Also, the bypolls assume significance in view of the fact that the BJP did not do all that well in the recent bypolls. It had lost one seat each in Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. The most rankling reversal was in Bihar, where it could win only four of the 10 seats it contested. The remaining six were won by Laloo-Nitish-Congress combine.

Meanwhile, Voting on Saturday began on a brisk note in by-elections to three Lok Sabha and 33 assembly constituencies spread across ten states, seen as a test of Narendra Modi government's popularity, especially as BJP braces for polls in two states next month.

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 today.

Counting of votes is scheduled for September 16.

Retaining Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, vacated by SP supremo Mualayam Singh Yadav who had won from two LS 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.

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 Anandiben Patel faces her first big test in by-elections beinge held today for Vadodara LS 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.

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.

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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