By-poll tests strength of BJP and rivals

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 21, 2014

Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and his wife and party candidate Preneet Kaur in Patiala on Thursday. PTI

In the first political battle since the Lok Sabha elections three months back, by-polls were held for 18 seats — 10 in Bihar, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka and two in Punjab — on Thursday.

Bihar’s was clearly the most talked about by-election because of the re-alignment of socialist groups led by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) with the Congress.

A resurgent BJP expects the momentum of its stupendous Lok Sabha poll victory to sustain and give it an edge in the by-polls as well.

Six out of the 10 seats were won by the BJP in the 2010 Assembly election while the balance four are held separately by the RJD-JD(U) alliance.

Altogether 94 candidates including five women are in the fray. Hajipur has the maximum of 15 contestants while Banka and Rajnagar (SC) have the minimum — six candidates each.

The other interesting contest is in Karnataka, where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is looking to prove his mettle against BS Yeddyurappa, who has been completely rehabilitated in the BJP. Yeddyurappa was recently appointed Vice-President in the BJP national president Amit Shah’s team.

In Punjab, the by-elections have been spiced up by the presence of the AAP. High percentage of polling was reported from Patiala and Talwandi Sabo Assembly constituencies.

Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his wife Preneet Kaur, who is contesting on a Congress ticket, cast their vote at Patiala, while at Talwandi Sabo SAD nominee Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu and Congress candidate Harminder Jassi exercised their franchise. While a total of eight contestants are in the fray for the Patiala seat, the Talwandi Sabo seat is being contested by seven candidates.

Patiala is witnessing a triangular contest between Preneet Kaur, Bhagwan Das (SAD) and Harjeet Singh of AAP.

Preneet Kaur had lost the recent Lok Sabha polls to AAP’s Dharamvira Gandhi.

Talwandi Sabo too is witnessing a triangular contest among Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi, SAD’s Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu and AAP’s Bajinder Kaur.

Published on August 21, 2014
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