Uttar Pradesh awaits bypolls to 8 assembly seats

Uttar Pradesh may witness a mini-assembly election of sorts in the coming months if the Election Commission decides to hold bypolls to eight seats in the state assembly along with the Bihar polls.

Five of these eight seats fell vacant after the death of sitting members.

“The Election Commission of India has to take a call about holding bypolls to the eight assembly seats. As of now, we have no information about the possible timing of the bypolls,” said a senior officer.

Election rules mandate that the bypolls shall be conducted within six months of the assembly seats falling vacant.

However, the EC has not yet given any indication about holding these bypolls.

“For seats, where the six month time period is complete, the EC has given a certificate, saying a decision about holding the bypoll there will be taken later,” said the officer.

Legal expert CB Pandey, a former advisor to the governor, said, “Yes, the EC should ideally hold an election to a vacant seat in six months. The poll panel can defer the elections in special circumstances like Covid-19 or any other reasons. These vacancies have no impact on the state assembly.”

Uttar Pradesh assembly has a sanctioned strength of 403 members.

There were two ministers among the five who died recently – Kamal Rani Varun, who held the Ghatampur seat in Kanpur Nagar district, and Chetan Chauhan, who represented Amroha’s Naugawan Sadat assembly constituency.

Both ministers died of Covid-19 complications.

BJP’s Janmejaya Singh (Deoria Sadar) died on August 21 and Veerendra Singh Sirohi (Bulandshahr) passed away on March 2. Samajwadi Party’s Paras Nath Yadav, who represented Malhani in Jaunpur, died on June 12.

The other seats declared vacant include the one that had been held by BJP member Kuldeep Singh Sengar (Bangarmau, Unnao) who was disqualified following the life sentence awarded to him in a rape case. His seat has been declared vacant with effect from December 20 last year.

The Swar seat was declared vacant with effect from December 16, 2019 after the Allahabad high court declared the election of Samajwadi Party’s Mohammad Abdullah Azam invalid.

Earlier, the Tundla assembly seat of Firozabad was declared vacant on June 4 following the resignation of former UP minister SP Singh Baghel when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Agra.

The poll body will also have to take a call about holding the biennial election to 11 seats of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Parishad.

The term of 11 MLCs from the graduate and teachers constituency of the state legislative council ended on May 6. Another seat has fallen vacant in the council following disqualification of former Bahujan Samaj Party leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who had switched loyalties to the Congress.

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