Bihar bypolls: Over 55% turnout recorded in Araria

Voting for 3 Lok Sabha bypolls in UP, Bihar to be held tomorrow

The polling was by and large peaceful, the election official said.

Around 31.25 per cent voters cast their votes in the ongoing by-poll at for the Araria Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar on Sunday till 12 noon.

The bypolls are being watched with much eagerness as this is the first electoral battle in the state since last year's political realignment when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who also heads the JD (U), walked out of the Grand Alliance and rejoined the BJP-led NDA. According to a report, 57% voting in Araria, 54.03% in Bhabhua and 50.6% in Jehanabad was recorded on Sunday.

The bypoll was necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their seats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, respectively, on taking office. Both the leaders have campaigned in their erstwhile Lok Sabha constituencies extensively while Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party held the fort for the opposition.

Though fourteen candidates are in the fray in Jehanabad, the fight is mainly between the RJD's Kumar Krishna Mohan and JD (U)'s Abhiram Sharma, who took the seat in the 2010 assembly election.

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The BJP, meanwhile, is hopeful of retaining the Bhabhua Assembly seat relying on the sympathy wave for Pandey's wife who is contesting from the seat.

BJP State president Nityanand Rai, addressing a public meeting on Friday, said that Araria would turn into "an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) hub if Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) wins the by-poll". The Bhabua seat is witnessing a straight contest between BJP's Rinki Pandey and Congress' Shambhu Singh Patel.

Araria Lok Sabha constituency comprises Assembly segments of Narpatganj, Sikti, Jokihat, Forbesganj, Raniganj and Araria. The total number of candidates in the fray here is 17.

The poll was necessitated with the death of Mundrika Yadav, the seat that RJD hopes to retain in this Assembly bypoll. The results for the Araria by-elections will be declared on Wednesday, March 14.

JD (U) had initially stated that it will not contest the bye-elections but later relented at BJP's urging to contest from Jehanabad.

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