As the initial counting of votes for the Bihar bypolls began on Wednesday, the BJP has taken a lead in the Araria Lok Sabha and Bhabua assembly seats while the RJD is ahead in the Jahanabad assembly constituency, officials said.

In Araria, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate Pradip Kumar Singh is leading over RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam.

In Bhabua, BJP’s Rinki Pandey is leading over Congress’ Sambhu Patel, while Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Suday Yadav is ahead of Janta Dal-United’s Abhiram Sharma.

The results were expected to be declared by afternoon, an Election Commission (EC) official said.

In Bihar, much is at stake for both ruling BJP-led NDA and opposition Grand Alliance comprising RJD, Congress and HAM-S, barely a year ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Both National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Grand Alliance are using the bypolls as an opportunity to prove their superiority over the other in terms of popularity among the masses.

While the NDA leaders are confident that they will win all the three seats, the Grand Alliance leaders have repeatedly claimed to pull out victory even in the absence of their star campaigner and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad — behind bars in connection with two fodder scam cases.

The bypolls to Jehanabad and Bhabua assembly seats are being held following the death of sitting legislators from the RJD and the BJP, respectively.

The Araria Lok Sabha seat became vacant after the death last year of Mohammad Taslimuddin, the sitting RJD MP.