Lok Sabh and assembly by-polls: What will today’s results mean for Modi’s demonetisation plan


Counting for four Lok Sabha and 10 assembly seats in six states that went for by-polls on 19 November will take place later today.

The elections in these constituencies had taken place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation announcement on 8 November.

Analysts say the results will be seen as an indication of public mood on Modi’s controversial decision that has already seen deaths of more than 60 people across India.

West Bengal: 2 Lok Sabha (Cooch Behar and Tamluk) seats, 1 assembly (Monteswar) seat

A high voter turnout of 81 per cent was recorded in the by-elections held in two Lok Sabha and one assembly constituency in West Bengal today, while the Congress announced withdrawing their candidate from the Monteswar assembly seat accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of “turning the elections into a farce”.

In the assembly elections held in May this year, Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had won a historic landslide while decimating the Left-Congress alliance in West Bengal. The BJP, despite its high-octane campaign, could barely register its presence in the state by winning just 3 of the 297 seats.

The by-polls in West Bengal had seen more than 80% polling in all constituencies. Demonetisation had become a big poll issue as the announcement came in the last leg of the campaign.

Tamil Nadu: 3 assembly(Aravakkurichi, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram ) seats, 1 ( Nellithope) in Puducherry

Polls for Aravakkurichi and Thanjavur and bypolls for Thirupparankundram in Tamil Nadu and Nellithope seat in neighbouring Puducherry too saw an impressive turnout in a peaceful atmosphere amid tight security, with voting percentage crossing 80 per cent in two of the Assembly segments.

Though various parties, including BJP, PMK and DMDK were in the fray, the main fight was between the ruling AIADMK and main Opposition DMK.

Taking the campaign seriously, though it was only for three Assembly segments –the outcome of which will not impact the ruling regime– both Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMK chief M Karunanidhi had issued statements, appealing to people to vote for their respective nominees.

In the assembly elections held in May this year, AIADMK had registered a record second term. The BJP, which claimed to have enrolled 50 lakh members through its missed call campaign had found itself completely annihilated with its candidates failing to save their deposits. The party had scored blank despite its claims to be the largest political outfit in the country.

Madhya Pradesh: 1 Loksabha (Shahdol) seat, 1 assembly (Nepanagar) seat

A voter turn out of 62.71 per cent was recorded in the by-election to the Shahdol Lok Sabha constituency while 71.25 per cent voting was recorded in the by-poll to Nepanagar Assembly seat, in Madhya Pradesh, today.

The by-polls at the two places, both reserved for Scheduled Tribes category, assume significance as they were held after the Centre’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The polls in Madhya Pradesh also took place after the fake encounter of eight Muslims by state police in Bhopal. It, however, remains to be seen what impact this alleged violation of human rights will have on the outcome of the by-polls in the state.

While Congress has fielded Himadri Singh, daughter of former Union Minister Dalbir Singh, in Shahdol, BJP has given ticket to tribal leader Gyan Singh, a senior member in Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet. Himadri’s mother Rajesh Nandini Singh was also an MP.

The Shahdol bypoll was necessitated due to the death of BJP MP Dalpat Singh Paraste who had wrested the seat from Congress’s Rajesh Nandini Singh in 2014. Gyan Singh had won the Shahdol seat in 1996 and 1998.

In Nepanagar, Congress has reposed faith in tribal leader Antar Singh Barde, while BJP has fielded Manju Dadu, daughter of the late MLA Rajendra Shyamlal Dadu whose death in an accident necessitated the by-poll.

Assam: 1 Lok Sabha (Lakhimpur) seat, 2 assembly (Baithalangso,) seat 

The BJP had succeeded in forming its first ever government in Assam in May this year.

The by-elections to Lakhimpur parliamentary constituency was necessitated as Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal vacated the seat following his election in May last to the state Assembly from Majuli constituency, which falls under this Lok Sabha seat.

Lakhimpur has a total electorate of 15,11,110 voters, while it is 1,80,203 voters in Baithalanso.

Defeats in either of these two seats will be seen as a serious indictment of Modi’s controversial policy on demonetisation.

Tripura: 2 assembly (Barjala and Khowai) seats

The Barjala (SC reserved) seat fell vacant following the resignation of Congress MLA Jitendra Sarkar due to internal squabble in the party, while the death of veteran CPI-M leader Samir Deb necessitated the by-poll in Khowai seat.

BJP has been making all-out efforts to widen its base in North-East although the party stands very little chances in these by-polls.

Arunachal Pradesh: 1 assembly (Hayuliang) seat

The fate of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) candidate Dasanglu Pul contesting on BJP ticket and Independent candidate Yompi Kri will be decided later today.

Dasanglu is the youngest wife among the three wives of former chief minister, late Kalikho Pul.

The seat fell vacant after Pul allegedly committed suicide on August 9 this year.