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About Bye-Elections

Context

In recent times, Bye-elections took place for a Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab and four Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Odisha.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article

  1. About bye-elections
  2. Impact

About bye-elections

  • Bypolls, also called bye-elections or special elections, are conducted to fill vacant seats in legislative bodies.
  • Bypolls are important in the electoral cycle to address unforeseen vacancies.
  • The primary purpose of bypolls is to ensure timely representation of the affected constituency or district in the legislative body.
  • Bypolls are held when a seat in the legislature becomes vacant due to death, resignation, disqualification, or expulsion of a sitting member.
  • Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates the Election Commission to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through by-elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more.
  • No need to hold bypolls if the remaining term of the Lok Sabha is less than one year from the date of occurrence of vacancies.

Impact:

  • Bypolls serve as a significant indicator of the popularity and strength of political parties.
  • Political parties can use bypolls to measure public sentiment and assess their support base.
  • The outcomes of by-elections can have an impact on the ruling government’s majority.
  • If the ruling party loses a substantial number of bypoll seats, it may lead to a loss of the government’s stability and decision-making.
  • Bypolls offer a platform for political parties to experiment with their electoral strategies and refine their campaign approaches.
  • Parties can test various aspects such as candidate selection, campaign themes, and messaging during by-polls that can influence their strategies in subsequent elections.

-Source: The Hindu


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