Latest update: RJD is leading in Araria and Jehanabad while BJP’s Rinky Rani Pandey is leading in Bhabua. The counting for Araria, Bhabua and Jehanabad seats have begun.
Counting of votes for Araria Lok Sabha seat along with Bhabua and Jehanabad Assembly constituencies will be held on Wednesday. The polling was held on Sunday for all three seats.
This is the first electoral battle in the Bihar since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who also heads the JD(U), walked out of the alliance with the RJD and the Congress and joined the BJP-led NDA last year. While the bypoll 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, the parties are looking forward to winning the Assembly seats ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls.
In Jehanabad, the RJD hopes to retain the Assembly seat that fell vacant after the death of Mundrika Yadav. The party gave a ticket to Yadav’s son Kumar Krishna Mohan. The BJP is hopeful of retaining the Bhabua Assembly seat riding on a sympathy wave for Anand Bhushan Pandey, whose death at the age of 48, necessitated the bypoll. The saffron party fielded Pandey’s wife Rinky Rani.
The contest in Araria is mainly between RJD’s Sarafaraz Alam, Taslimuddin’s son, and BJP’s Pradip Singh, who had won the seat in 2009 and finished runner-up in 2014.
The current bypoll equations are also likely to reflect in the seat-sharing between the BJP and the JD(U) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Fifty-seven percent votes were recorded in Araria while the voter turnout was 54.03 percent and 50.06 percent in Jehanabad and Bhabhua respectively. The polling was by and large peaceful, the election official said.
With inputs from agencies