Bihar bypolls: All you need to know about the poll-bound state

Bihar bypolls: All you need to know about the poll-bound state

"Webcasting was done from 197 polling stations and officials, including those from the Election Commission, watched it to keep tabs on the voting", said Bihar's chief electoral officer (CEO) Ajay V. Nayak.

The Araria lok-sabha bypoll was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin.

The by-poll in Araria is being viewed as a test for the ruling JD (U)-BJP combine as well as the opposition RJD-Congress alliance, ahead of the big battle in the general elections due next year. Till noon, 31.25 per cent voter turnout has been recorded in Araria; it was 24.5 per cent in Bhabhua and 28.6 per cent in Jehanabad, news agency ANI reported. In Gorakhpur, the BJP had nominated Upendra Dutt Shukla against SP's Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel and Sureetha Kareem of the Congress.

Slow pace of voting on Sunday marked the by-elections for the high stakes battles in Gorakhpur and Phulpur as poll percentage in the two constituencies went down by almost 10% as compared to the 2014 LS elections.

Meanwhile, the bypolls in Bihar are being considered as a direct battle between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has been leading the RJD's campaign since his father Lalu Prasad Yadav was jailed in a corruption case. Counting of votes will take place on 14 March.

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The BJP is hopeful of retaining the Bhabhua Assembly seat riding on a sympathy wave for Anand Bhushan Pandey whose death at the age of 48 has necessitated the bypoll. Mayawati has not fielded any candidate for the by-elections, announcing that her party workers "will vote for the candidate who is best positioned to defeat the BJP".

The chief contest is between BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Grand Alliance comprising of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) [HAM (S)] or HAM-S. Ten candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur.

Araria Lok Sabha constituency comprises Assembly segments of Narpatganj, Sikti, Jokihat, Forbesganj, Raniganj and Araria.

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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