Bypolls to two Assembly seats and the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh will witness a direct contest between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party-RLD alliance with the November 17 deadline to file nominations passing and the BSP and the Congress electing not to field candidates.
The bypolls in Mainpuri was necessitated by the death of Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Rampur Sadar and Khatauli Assembly seats fell vacant after the disqualifications of sitting MLAs Azam Khan and Vikram Singh Saini, respectively, following their convictions in separate cases.
While 13 candidates have filed the nominations in Mainpuri, the contest is mainly between the SP's Dimple Yadav and the BJP's Raghuraj Singh Shakya. The other candidates to have filed their nominations include Ramakanta Kashyap of Om Prakash Rajbhar's Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and Independents.
In Khatauli, the contest is between BJP candidate Rajkumari and Madan Bhaiya of SP-ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Fourteen candidates have filed their nominations from this Muzaffarnagar constituency.
Only three candidates have filed their nominations from Rampur Sadar -- the SP's Mohd Asim Raja, Akash Saxena (Honey) of the BJP and Independent candidate Rajender Singh.
With the BJP enjoying an overwhelming majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, the outcome of the bypolls pose no threat to the saffron party's grip on power. However, a victory would give a psychological edge to the winner in the run-up to the General Elections in 2024.
Having already won from SP bastions Azamgarh and Rampur in the June bypolls, the BJP hopes a victory in Mainpuri would boost its quest to win all 80 Parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh in 2024.
Another keenly watched aspect of the Mainpuri contest will be the role of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's uncle and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) (PSPL) chief Shivpal Yadav.
While the duo has been estranged at times, Shivpal Yadav has mellowed in recent weeks and asked his party activists to ensure the victory of "badi bahu" (elder daughter-in-law) Dimple Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav's tilt towards the SP has come as a blow to the BJP, which fielded his protege Shakya in the hope of gaining support from the PSPL 'strongman'.
His Jaswantnagar Assembly segment is part of the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency and so is Akhilesh Yadav's Karhal Assembly seat.
According to the Election Commission of India, scrutiny of nominations will be held on Friday while the last date to withdraw candidature is Monday.
Voting will be held on December 5, while counting is scheduled for December 8.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)