On May 10, 2023, voting commenced in the assembly seats of Suar and Chhanbey in Uttar Pradesh. In both constituencies, there is a face-off between the ruling coalition and the opposition Samajwadi Party. The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has decided not to contest the by-elections, while the Congress has fielded its candidate only in Chhanbey. The results of the bypolls will not directly affect the composition of the assembly but will hold significant importance as a confidence booster for the winner ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Suar Bypoll: All Eyes on Rampur District
The Suar seat in Rampur district is significant as it was previously held by Abdullah Azam Khan, the son of senior SP leader Azam Khan. The young leader was sentenced to two years in jail for a 15-year-old case, and the seat was declared vacant on February 13. Azam Khan himself was disqualified from the Assembly last year after a court sentenced him to three years in jail in a hate speech case. In the 2022 UP Assembly election, Abdullah Azam Khan had defeated Apna Dal (Sonelal)’s Haidar Ali Khan on the Suar seat by a margin of over 61,000 votes.
Head-to-Head Competition in Both Constituencies
The Samajwadi Party has fielded Anuradha Chauhan from the Suar seat, and Apna Dal (Sonelal) has named Shafeek Ahmed Ansari. A total of 774 polling booths have been set up by the Election Commission at 492 polling centres in the two constituencies, while there are 6.62 lakh (3.51 lakh male, 3.11 lakh female and 82 third gender) eligible voters. A total of 14 candidates are in the fray – six in Suar and eight in Chhanbey.
Composition of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly
In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly, the ruling BJP has 255 MLAs, and its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) and the NISHAD Party have 11 and six legislators, respectively. The Samajwadi Party has 109 MLAs, while its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal has nine. The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has six MLAs, the Congress and the Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik) have two each, and the Bahujan Samaj Party has one member in the assembly.
Counting of Votes on May 13
The counting of votes for the by-elections in Suar and Chhanbey will take place on May 13.
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