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By-elections in UP, Punjab and Odisha along with Karnataka assembly polls 

Along with Karnataka assembly elections, by-elections are also being held for one parliamentary seat in Punjab and assembly seats in Meghalaya, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Voting for the Suar and Chhanbey Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh began in the morning. Though, by-lections in UP will have no bearing or immediate influence on the assembly's present structure, they will serve as a morale lifter for the victor ahead of the Lok Sabha election next year. 

Voting started from 7 a.m. and will continue till 6 p.m., according to authorities. The Election Commission has set up 774 voting booths at 492 polling locations for the two seats in UP, with a total of 6.62 lakh eligible voters (3.51 lakh male, 3.11 lakh female, and 82 third gender). There are 14 candidates in all, with six in Suar and eight in Chhanbey.

In UP, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has opted out of the by-elections, while the Congress is in the fray from Chhanbey only. With leaders either campaigning in Karnataka or engaged with Uttar Pradesh's urban local body elections, the campaign for the two seats in Rampur and Mirzapur districts has been underwhelming.

The Suar seat in Rampur district of UP, is in focus since it was held by Abdullah Azam Khan, the son of prominent SP leader Azam Khan, before it was declared vacant on February 13 after a Moradabad court sentenced the young politician to two years in prison in a 15-year-old case. In the last assembly, the Allahabad High Court had thrown aside his election in 2020 for failing to provide his exact age in the affidavit.

According to the HS, the Samajwadi Party is going all out to defend what can be called its last citadel in Rampur, while the Apna Dal (Sonelal), an ally of the ruling BJP, is going all out to breach it, especially after the saffron party snatched both the Rampur assembly and parliamentary seats, both of which were once Azam Khan's stronghold. Azam Khan was disqualified from the Assembly last year after a judge sentenced him to three years in prison for hate speech. Abdullah Azam Khan beat Apna Dal (Sonelal)'s Haidar Ali Khan on the Suar seat by over 61,000 votes in the 2022 UP Assembly election.

The Samajwadi Party has nominated Anuradha Chauhan for the seat, while the Apna Dal (Sonelal) has nominated Shafeek Ahmed Ansari. Following the death of Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA Rahul Prakash Kol in February, the Chhanbey seat in Mirzapur became vacant. Kol's wife Rinki Kol is running for the party, while Kirti Kol is running for the Samajwadi Party. There are eight individuals vying for this position. The counting of votes will take held on May 13.

The ruling BJP has 255 MLAs in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly, while its allies Apna Dal (Sonelal) and NISHAD Party have 11 and six members, respectively. The Samajwadi Party has 109 legislators, while the Rashtriya Lok Dal has nine. The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has six MLAs, the Congress has two, the Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik) has one, and the Bahujan Samaj Party has one.

Voting for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-election started at 8 am on Wednesday. The polling process is going on peacefully in the entire Lok Sabha constituency. About six percent voting is reported in the first one and a half hour. The seat fell vacant after the death of Congress MP Santokh Chowdhary. Presently, there are total 19 candidates in the fray in Jalandhar.

The main contest is between Congress candidate Sushil Kumar Rinku who joined AAP, Congress candidate Karmjit Kaur Chowdhary, BJP's Inder Singh Atwal, Akali Dal's Sukhwinder Sukhi. 1972 polling stations have been set up in this Lok Sabha seat with nine assembly constituencies, on which 16 lakh 21 thousand voters of the district will elect the new MP. 

The voting process for Jharsuguda assembly by-election in Odisha, started from 7 am and the process will continue till 6.30 pm. The seat fell vacant after the assassination of former state health minister Nav Kishore Das. There are total 9 candidates in the fray. The main contest is between Deepali Das, daughter of BJD candidate Nav Das and BJP candidate Tankdhar Tripathi.

Voting is being held at 253 polling stations in 197 places on this assembly seat. Out of this, 26 are pink booths. A total of 1012 officers have been engaged in polling duty according to 4 employees in each polling station. A total of 2,21719 voters will exercise their franchise in this assembly seat.

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