Votes are being counted for the recently concluded by-elections in Bengal’s Asansol Lok Sabha seat and assembly seats in Bengal’s Ballygunge, Khairagarh in Chhattisgarh, Bochahan in Bihar and Kolhapur North in Maharashtra.
The Bengal bypolls are perhaps the most keenly watched, with the Trinamool Congress fielding two stars on the seats. In Asansol, the party is looking to break the jinx by fielding actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha. Trinamool has never won from this Lok Sabha seat. In the prestigious Ballygunge assembly seat, the state’s ruling party has fielded former Union Minister Babul Supriyo.
In Asansol, one of Bengal’s largest cities, the main rivals are an “outsider” and a candidate who calls herself the “daughter” of the city. The Trinamool candidate, actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, faces the BJP’s Agnimitra Paul, a designer-turned-MLA. The Asansol parliamentary seat fell vacant after Babul Supriyo quit as a BJP MP last year and switched to the Trinamool Congress, pledging allegiance to Mamata Banerjee.
The Ballygunge Assembly seat bypoll was necessitated after the demise of state Minister Subrata Mukherjee. The BJP has fielded Keya Ghosh while Saira Shah Halim is the CPI(M) candidate against Trinamool’s Babul Supriyo.
Bypolls in the Khairagarh Legislative Assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district saw a voter turnout of nearly 78 per cent. The ruling Congress is banking on its promise to carve out a new district for Khairagarh. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi) MLA Devwrat Singh in November last year. Mr Singh, who had quit the Congress to join the party set up by former chief minister late Ajit Jogi was the scion of the Khairagarh royal family.