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. Jehanabad and Bhabua, where the by-polls are for the Assembly, recorded 28.6 per cent and 24.5 per cent voting, respectively.
Ruling JD(U)-BJP combine and the opposition alliance of RJD-Congress are battling for the three seats, all of which fell vacant due to the deaths of the sitting representatives.
The by-poll in Araria Lok Sabha seat was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin. Jahanabad and Bhabua assembly seats fell vacant due to the deaths of RJD Legislator Mundrika Yadav and BJP legislator Anand Bhushan Pandey, respectively.
While the JD-U had fought the 2015 Assembly polls in alliance with the RJD and the Congress from Jehanabad, the party is now fighting for it against the Mahagathbandhan.
The RJD, which gave the ticket to Yadav’s son Kumar Krishna Mohan, hopes to retain the Assembly seat in a 14-way contest. Mohan’s main opponent is JD(U)’s Abhiram Sharma who had won the seat in the 2010 Assembly polls.
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.
Seven candidates are battling it out in Araria parliamentary constituency. Former BJP MP Pradeep Kumar Singh is seeking to regain the seat from the RJD which has fielded Sarfaraz Alam, who is the son of Taslimuddin.
This is the first by-polls in the state after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar left Mahagathbandhan and re-joined the NDA government in 2017.
JD(U) had initially stated that it will not contest the bye-elections but later relented at BJP’s urging to contest from Jehanabad.
Congress and RJD had issues over seat-sharing before they finalised an arrangement in February under which the former was to contest from Bhabua alone.
According to election commission sources, the polling is so far peaceful. Counting of votes will take place on March 14.