Bypolls to Araria Lok Sabha seat recorded a voter turnout of 57%, Bhabua recorded 54.03 per cent while Jehanabad witnessed 50.06 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm, said Ajay V Nayak Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, reports news agency PTI. The polling was by and large peaceful, the election official added. The counting of votes will take place on March 14.
The bye-elections to Araria, Jehanabad and Bhabhua Assembly seats in Bihar is the first major test for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar since walking out of the Grand Alliance last year. The key challenge for NDA will be to wrest Araria Lok Sabha seat from RJD, whose candidate Mohammed Taslimuddin defeated BJP’s sitting MP Pradeep Kumar Singh in 2014. Araria had been with NDA since 1996. The contest is mainly between the late RJD MP’s son Sarfaraz Alam and BJP’s Pradip Singh.
The Assembly seat of Jehanabad, which was vacated due to the death of RJD lawmaker Mundrika Singh Yadav, will see his son Uday Yadav locking horns with JD(U)’s Abhiram Sharma. Jehanabad is dominated by OBC Yadavs but is closely followed by upper caste Bhumihars.
Bhabhua seat, won by BJP in 2015, presents an interesting battle with Congress fielding a Kurmi candidate, Shambu Nath Patel, in an effort to split Nitish Kumar’s constituency. The saffron party has fielded the widow of Anand Bhushan Pandey, Rinki Rani Pandey, from this seat.