The Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Mahagathbandhan is ahead in Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad Assembly byelections while it is the BJP candidate who has taken the lead in Bhabua Assembly seat. The byelections in Bihar saw a tough battle between the RJD-led alliance and the Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United-BJP combine, which is ruling the state. The results of the Lok Sabha byelections in Araria and Assembly byelections in Bhabua and Jehanabad will be declared later today.
The by-poll 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. In the Bhabua and Jehanabad Assembly constituencies, where by-polls were also held, the voter turnout was 54.03 per cent and 50.06 per cent respectively after polling ended at 5 pm, Bihar Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Nayak said. The ruling JD(U)-BJP combine and the opposition RJD-Congress alliance were locked in a battle on the three seats.
This is the first electoral battle in the state 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. The polling was by and large peaceful.
The by-election to the Araria seat was necessitated by the death of sitting RJD lawmaker Mohd Taslimuddin. The contest 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.
In Jehanabad, the RJD hopes to retain the Assembly seat that fell vacant after the death of Mundrika Yadav. The party gave ticket to Yadav's son Kumar Krishna Mohan.
When asked about an incident of firing near a polling station in Jehanabad, Nayak said the incident occurred in neighbouring Arwal district and not in Jehanabad.