Bypolls: BJP fights in SP stronghold, AAP struggles in Punjab
Counting of votes for the bypolls of three Lok Sabha and seven Assembly seats in five states and Delhi is underway. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha is one of the prominent contenders for the Assembly by-elections. While the BJP candidate Ghanshyam Lodhi leads in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur, Simranjit Singh Mann, leader of an Akali Dal breakaway faction, leads in Punjab's Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency.
The bypolls were also conducted in Tripura for three Assembly seats: Agartala, Jubarajnagar, Surma, and Town Bordowali. Chief Minister Saha, who needs to get elected to keep his post, is the BJP's candidate in Town Bordowali. Meanwhile, Durgesh Pathak of the Aam Aadmi Party leads in Rajinder Nagar, Delhi. Votes are also being counted in Mandar, Jharkhand, and Atmakuru, Andhra Pradesh.
In UP's Azamgarh, BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav "Nirhua" presently holds a slight advantage over Samajwadi Party candidate Dharmendra Yadav. In Punjab's Sangrur, the AAP has fielded Gurmail Singh, the party's Sangrur district in charge; the Congress has fielded Dalvir Singh Goldy, a former Dhuri MLA; and the BJP has fielded Kewal Dhillon, a former Barnala MLA who joined the party on June 4.
Kamaldeep Kaur, sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh's assassination case, was fielded by the Shiromani Akali Dal. The SAD (Amritsar) chief Mann is also in the contest.
The Jharkhand bypoll was necessitated as MLA Bandhu Tirkey was disqualified after being convicted in a corruption case. The Congress nominated his daughter, Shilpi Neha Tirkey, as the ruling JMM-led coalition's common candidate, while the BJP chose former MLA Gangotri Kujur. Dev Kumar Dhan, an independent candidate supported by Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM, also ran in the Jharkhand bypoll.
In Delhi, Rajesh Bhatia, a former councilor from Rajinder Nagar, is the BJP candidate while Prem Lata is the Congress nominee. Andhra Pradesh held a bypoll to fill a vacancy left by the death of the state's Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy in February. Vikram Reddy, the ruling YSR Congress Party's candidate, is Reddy's younger brother. G Bharat Kumar Yadav is the BJP's candidate.