The counting of votes for four Assembly seats across three states will be held on Monday. Bawana bye-election in Delhi will decide the fate of candidates of the three major political parties-the ruling AAP, BJP and the Congress, all of whom have exuded confidence about winning the Assembly seat reserved for the SC category. On the other hand, the Panaji seat holds the future for Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The Nandyal Assembly constituency in Andhra Pradesh has become a battle of prestige for TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and YSRC head Jagan Mohan Reddy.
It is for the first time that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) was used in the by-election.
Battle for Bawana
Eight candidates are in the fray but essentially the AAP, the BJP and the Congress are locked in a triangular contest. On August 23, polling for the bye-election for Bawana constituency, one of the largest in Delhi in terms of the number of electors, saw 45 per cent voter turnout, much lower than during the 2015 Assembly elections which had recorded 61.83 polling.
In the 70-member Delhi Assembly, the AAP has 65 MLAs, the BJP four whole Congress is hoping to open its account in the House by winning this seat.
Incidentally, in the Rajouri Garden by poll, held earlier this year, the BJP wrested the seat from the AAP while a resurgent Congress had finished second. For Bawana by poll, the BJP has fielded Ved Prakash who had won from the constituency in the 2015 elections as an AAP candidate.
He had resigned from Assembly membership and joined the BJP in March this year, necessitating the by poll. The AAP’s candidate is Ram Chandra, while the Congress has placed its bet on former three-time MLA from Bawana, Surendra Kumar.
There are 2.94 lakh voters in Bawana, including 1,64,114 males, 1,30,143 females and 25 third gender voters.Voting was held peacefully in 379 polling stations across the Assembly constituency.
According to officials an EVM and 17 VVPAT devices had malfunctioned during polling and were replaced without any hindrance to voting.
The officials conjectured that multiple elections taking place in the city in quick succession could be a factor for the low turnout in Bawana, adding that voter turnout is “generally low” in by polls.
Nandyal by-poll: Stakes high for TDP, YSRC
In Nandyal Assembly constituency in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, if the ruling Telugu Desam Party loses, it will be seen as an “anti-establishment” vote. If it wins, the opposition YSR Congress will take it as a harbinger for its race for power in 2019.
The outcome will surely alter the political equations in the state with speculation rife that defections will start once again, depending on the winner.
The BJP, though on TDP’s side now, is said to be keenly watching Nandyal to fine-tune its strategy for 2019. The by poll is necessitated by the death of sitting MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy, who won the seat by a margin of 3,600 votes as YSRC candidate in 2014 but switched over to the TDP in February 2016.
The TDP has fielded Reddy’s nephew Brahmananda Reddy while the YSRC put up former minister Silpa Chandra Mohan Reddy, who lost the seat as TDP nominee in 2014.
Panaji and Valpoi seats
In the Panaji contest, Chief Minister and BJP stalwart Manohar Parrikar is in the fray against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s confidante Girish Chodankar.
In Valpoi, the BJP has fielded Congress rebel and Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane, whose main opponent is Roy Naik, the son of former state Home minister Ravi Naik, of the Congress.
Panaji has been a bastion for BJP since 1994.
(With PTI Inputs)