Bihar bypolls: Voting underway for Araria Lok Sabha, 2 assembly seats

BJP Leader Drags ISIS Into Bihar By-Election Police Case Filed

Besides, complaints of EVM malfunctioning poured in from Jehanabad and Bhabua, the two Assembly constituencies where there is a straight contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance.

RJD has fielded Sarfaraj Alam, son of Mohd Taslimuddin, while the BJP has given the ticket to Pradeep Kumar Singh, who won the Araria Lok Sabha seat in 2009 parliamentary poll.

The by-election in Bihar is seen a referendum on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's alliance with the BJP that was crafted previous year at the expense of the ties with RJD and the Congress. Lalu Yadav's party, which held Araria, had repeatedly called it a violation of the anti-BJP mandate delivered by the people of Bihar in the 2015 assembly elections.

By-elections are being held in Gorakhpur formerly held by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath - and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. As per the report from Election Commission of India (ECI) 54% voter turnout has been registered on Araria, Bhabhau and Jehanabad seats.

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The bypolls were necessitated after Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their Lok Sabha seats after getting elected to the state Legislative Council. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin.

But past year, Nitish Kumar ended the alliance and came back at the head of another government formed with the BJP - a move that has been repeatedly castigated by Lalu Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav. Bihar Congress chief Kaukab Quadri claimed that 137 EVMs had faced "technical glitches" and harmed the flow of voting.

An FIR has been lodged against Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai for allegedly delivering a provocative speech on Friday while campaigning for the Lok Sabha bypoll in Araria district, which was held on Sunday without any major violence (See Metro Page 10).

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former mayor of Varanasi, Kaushlendra Singh Patel as its candidate from Phulpur while Upendra Shukla would contest from Gorakhpur. Shahnaz Khatoon, a first-time voter who has just taken her Class XII exam, said after casting her vote at a booth in Raniganj, "Each member of my family voted". However, a total of 14 candidates including three women are in the fray.

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