Bypolls to the three Assembly constituencies, Kaliganj, Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur in West Bengal are underway on Monday. These bypolls are crucial for the Trinamool Congress to showcase its strength after BJP made inroads in the Lok Sabha Elections in the state winning surprisingly 18 seats.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would like the party to win on all the three seats to reinstate party’s lost glory, while the BJP too would like to prove that the win in earlier elections just 6 months back was not a fluke. With just 18 months left for the Assembly elections in the state, the results of these elections could indicate the electoral choice and the voting trends could give a fair idea, and even to some extent, shape the future course of events in the run up to the 2021 Assembly election in Bengal.

The ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP are contesting all the three seats. These three seats are held by different parties. Karimganj is held by the Trinamool, Kharagpur by the BJP and Kaliaganj was under the Congress.

The Left Front and Congress have formed an alliance with the Congress contesting from Kharagpur and Kaliaganj and Left Front major CPI-M in Karimpur.

The polls at Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur were necessitated after the MLAs Dilip Ghosh from BJP and Mahua Moitra from Trinamool — won the Lok Sabha polls.

The bypoll in Kaliaganj is the fallout of the death of Congress MLA Pramath Nath Roy.

While the BJP candidate from Karimpur Assembly by-poll Jay Prakash Majumdar alleged that he was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed into a roadside bush by Trinamool Congress workers while voting was on in the constituency on Monday. The Trinamool, however, has denied any involvement of its workers in the incident.

Amid sporadic allegations of malpractices, close to 14 per cent votes were cast in the morning. Election Commission sources told news agency IANS, poll proceedings were peaceful and there were no reports of violence until morning. “There was 13.8 per cent polling on an average in the three constituencies. The voting percentage was 14.13 in Kaliaganj, 12.60 in Kharagpur Sadar and 14.71 in Karimpur,” the EC said.