Counting of votes for the bypolls for the two Assembly and three parliamentary constituencies in Rajasthan and West Bengal will begin at 8 am on Thursday morning. While the bypolls for Lok Sabha seats of Ajmer and Alwar, and the Assembly seat of Mandalgarh are being touted as a litmus test for Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje ahead of state polls, elections for Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency and Noapara Assembly seat in West Bengal will test the popularity of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Rajasthan: Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies saw a turnout of 65.2% and 61.86% while the Mandalgarh Assembly seat registered an even higher 78.78% as voting in the bypolls on Monday. The counting of votes of the Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha seats will be done in the respective constituencies, whereas it will take place in Bhilwara for the Mandalgarh Assembly seat, a spokesperson of the state election department said.A total of 42 candidates are in the fray for the bypolls to the three seats.In Alwar, Jaswant Singh Yadav of BJP and Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress have contested the election, while Raghu Sharma of the Congress and BJP’s Ram Swaroop Lamba locked horns in Ajmer.In Mandalgarh, BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada and Congress’s Vivek Dhakad are poised for a tough fight.Bypolls were necessitated in these three seats due to the deaths of the sitting lawmakers. Ajmer MP Sanwar Lal Jat, Alwar MP Chand Nath and Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari (all of BJP) passed away last year.The Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan has already completed four years in office and these bypolls are being seen as an indicator of the public mood ahead of the state polls.West Bengal: Over 76% of the electorate in West Bengal’s Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency and 75.3% in the Noapara Assembly seat voted in Monday’s bypolls, where the ruling TMC is locked in a high voltage battle with the BJP and the CPI-M.The elections were necessitated by the death of Sultan Ahmed, the sitting TMC MP from Uluberia, and of Madhusudan Ghose, Congress MLA from the Noapara Assembly seat.The TMC, which has held the Uluberia seat since 2009, has fielded Sultan Ahmed’s widow, Sajda, from the constituency.The CPI(M)-led Left Front nominated Sabiruddin Molla, the Congress fielded S K Madassar Hossain Warsi and the BJP, its district committee leader, Anupam Mallik.Five independent candidates are also in the fray for the Lok Sabha seat.In Noapara, the TMC has fielded Sunil Singh, the CPI(M), Gargi Chatterjee and the Congress, Goutam Bose. Sandip Banerjee of the BJP is also in the fray.(With PTI inputs)
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