Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll will test the popularity of the ruling BJP.
By-elections to four Lok Sabha seats, including the politically crucial Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, and 10 assembly constituencies across 10 states are being held today. Besides Kairana, by-elections are taking place in Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra, and Nagaland Lok Sabha seat.
Bypoll to Kairana will see a joint opposition taking on the ruling BJP. The constituency fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh. His daughter Mriganka Singh is now the party's candidate for the bypoll and she will take on Rashtriya Lok Dal's (RLD) Tabassum Hasan, who is supported by the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The opposition hopes that by consolidating anti-BJP votes, they will repeat the success of the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-elections, where the ruling party suffered an unexpected defeat.
Here are the live updates on Kairana bypoll:
The issues were with VVPAT machines and not EVMs. The problem has been solved now. Some machines have been replaced at some booths. The voting is now running smoothly: Shamli district magistrate Vikram Singh
Over 30 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm. The EC has given an assurance that faulty EVMs are being changed and repoll will be ordered, where ever necessary.
According to the Election Commission, till 1 pm, Kairana recorded 30.61 per cent polling, while the polling percentage in Noorpur Assembly constituency was 33 per cent.
Opposition Samajwadi Party and RLD have complained of snags in EVM machines. "Getting reports of problems in EVMs in the by election but still voters should go for casting votes), SP president Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet.
SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary charged that 140 EVMs have been tampered with in Noorpur and similar reports have also come in from Kairana. "BJP wants to avenge defeat in earlier bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur anyhow and win these by polls," Mr Chaurdhary charged.
RLD spokesman Anil Dubey said there are reports of EVM malfunctioning in both the constituencies, specially in areas where the RLD-SP have influence. "We (RLD and SP) are going to meet the CEO to lodge a formal complaint in this regard," he said.
Electronic Voting Machines in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra hit by heat wave, says Election Commission
According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana. This includes 8.73 lakh male voters and 7.36 lakh female voters. Noorpur Assembly constituency has 3.06 lakh voters.
Malfunctioning machine being replaced in Kairana's Vaish Inter College
Kairana parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments -- Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district.
Similarly, the by-election to Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.
In Noorpur, the BJP announced the name of Avani Singh, wife of late MLA Lokendra Chauhan, as its candidate. The SP has fielded Naeemul Hasan as its candidate.
21.34 % voting recorded till 11 am
A copy of complaint letter
RLD candidate Tabassum Hassan has filed an official complaint on VVPATS. She has claimed that 59 VVPATS are not working.
10.20% Voting Recorded Till 9 AM, reports news agency ANI
Visuals from a polling booth in Shamli
Voting stalled at Public Inter College, Kairana due to faulty VVPAT, reports news agency ANI
Apart from the BJP's traditional upper caste Hindu vote, Mriganka Singh also has the loyalty of members of her own caste, Kairana's 1.4 lakh Hindu Gujjars.
For RLD president Ajit Singh and his son and vice-president of the party, Jayant Chowdhury, the Kairana election presents the opportunity to reclaim their core supporters of Jats, the dominant agrarian caste of Western UP, which shifted loyalties to the BJP in the general election after Hindu-Muslim violence tore through areas of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts in 2013.
RLD candidate Tabassum Hassan had earlier won from Kairana in 2009 on a BSP ticket by defeating Hukum Singh. This time, she takes on his daughter.
At least five state ministers had campaigned for BJP candidate in Kairana. They include Dharam Singh Saini (minister of state for Ayush), Suresh Rana (sugarcane development minister), Anupama Jaiswal (basic education minister) Surya Pratap Shahi (agriculture minister) and Laxmi Narayan (religious affairs, culture, minority welfare, waqf and Haj minister).
When Hukum Singh of the BJP won Kairana, his victory margin in 2014 of 2.30 lakh votes was more than the combined votes of the SP, BSP and RLD.
Mr Singh had managed a whopping 50.54 per cent of the votes in 2014; in 2017, his party's share fell by 24%.
Mriganka Singh of the BJP hopes to ride the sympathy wave even though the numbers are stacked against her.
Located around 630 km from capital city of Lucknow, the Lok Sabha constituency has five assembly segments namely Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district.
Voting begins for four Lok Sabha seats, including Kairana.
The bypoll is a direct contest between Mriganka Singh and Rashtriya Lok Dal's (RLD) Tabassum Hasan. The opposition's campaign received a boost after an independent candidate who dropped out of the race on May 24.
Kanwar Hasan dropped out of the race today and announced that he was with 48-year-old Tabassum Hasan, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate backed by Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, the Congress and Nishad Party.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a public meeting close to the Kairana constituency while inaugurating an expressway and spoke of issues concerning sugarcane farmers and law and order that the opposition alleges is a breach of the model code of conduct.
The opposition is eyeing the chunk of Jat voters, who have traditionally voted for Ajit Singh's RLD but had drifted to the BJP in 2014.
The bypoll seat has over 16 lakh voters. Nearly a third of them are Muslim.
BJP has fielded Hukum Singh's daughter Mriganka Singh to take on Tabassum Hasan who has been propped as the opposition candidate. Ms Hasan was earlier with the BSP, then moved to the SP before joining Ajit Singh's RLD. Her late husband Munnawar Hasan has represented the seat earlier.