The counting of votes for the by-polls in six assembly constituencies in five states including the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh began on Thursday.
The counting began at 8 am to decide the fate of the candidates contesting the polls, among whom all eyes will be on Dimple Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav's elder daughter-in-law and the wife of Akhilesh Yadav, who is contesting from the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, necessitated by the demise of Samajwadi Party veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav in October.
The polling was held on December 5 in six assembly seats in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat.
Rampur Sadar and Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh, Padampur in Odisha, Sardarshahar in Rajasthan, Kurhani in Bihar, and Bhanupratappur in Chhattisgarh are the assembly seats where results will be declared on Thursday.
In Mainpuri, the Bharatiya Janata Party has pitted Raghuraj Singh Shakya, a former confidant of Mulayam's brother Shivpal Singh Yadav against Dimple.
Notably, the Mainpuri seat is considered a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party.
The by-polls Rampur Sadar and Khatauli were necessitated after SP MLA Azam Khan and BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini were disqualified in separate cases.
Notably, Khan was disqualified in a hate speech case and the BJP MLA Saini after his conviction and sentence of two-year imprisonment in a 2013 riot case was also disqualified.
In Khatauli, the BJP is trying to retain the seat by fielding Rajkumari Saini. She is the wife of Vikram Singh Saini.
With the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party distanced themselves from the by-polls in Uttar Pradesh, it would be a direct fight between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal.
An anticipated direct contest between the Congress and the BJP is expected at the Bhanupratappur seat after Congress MLA Manoj Singh Mandavi passed away last month.
The Congress has fielded Savitri Mandavi, the wife of the deceased MLA in a bid to retain the seat while the BJP has fielded a former MLA. The seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
In other states, the Padampur bypoll of Odisha was also necessitated following the demise of sitting Biju Janata Dal MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha on October 3.
Rajasthan's Sardarshahar seat went to polls following the death of Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma after a prolonged illness.
His seat was contested by his son Anil Kumar while BJP had fielded former MLA Ashok Kumar there.
In Bihar's Kurhani, the disqualification of Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Anil Kumar Sahani prompted the polls.