LUCKNOW: Voting for the high-stakes by-elections to Kairana parliamentary constituency and Noorpur assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh began this morning.
The Kairana bypoll was necessitated following the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh in February.
His daughter Mriganka Singh is the BJP candidate, pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dal's Tabassum Hasan (BSP MP from Kairana in 2009) who is also supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and also claims the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Kairana parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments -- Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district.
Similarly, the by-election to Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.
In Noorpur, the BJP announced the name of Avani Singh, wife of late MLA Lokendra Chauhan, as its candidate.
The SP has fielded Naeemul Hasan as its candidate.
The polling began at 7.00 AM and will continue till 6.00 PM.
According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana.
This includes 8.73 lakh male voters and 7.36 lakh female voters.
Noorpur assembly constituency has 3.06 lakh voters.
In Kairana, there are 12 candidates in the fray, while from Noorpur there are 10 candidates in the field.
There are 2,056 polling booths.
The opposition hopes that by consolidating the anti-BJP votes, they will repeat the results of the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections where the ruling party suffered an unexpected defeat, especially after Lok Dal candidate Kanwar Hasan pulled himself out of the Kairana bypoll fray and embraced the RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal).
The ruling BJP on the other hand will make extra effort to retain both the seats to try and send a message to voters, party cadres -- as well as opposition parties -- that the drubbing in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections were a closed chapter now, and that it was still strong in western UP.
Counting of votes will take place on May 31.