Over 50% turnout in Bihar bypoll

Sarfaraz Alam's victory would turn Araria into ISI hub says BJP Bihar chief RJD hits back

The results to be announced on March 14 are being keenly watched in Uttar Pradesh as it could lead to a bigger opposition alliance before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP has expressed confidence in winning the UP seats, especially the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat which was represented by Yogi Adityanath for 5 consecutive terms before he was appointed Chief Minister. Both the leaders have campaigned in their erstwhile Lok Sabha constituencies extensively while Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party held the fort for the opposition. Sources are saying that this will be the first major electoral test for Nitish Kumar who walked out of the Mahagathbandhan past year and joined hands with the BJP to form the government. Adityanath, who is also Mahant of Gorakhnath temple, had won Gorakhpur for five times in a row since 1998. Mayawati has not fielded any candidate for the by-elections, announcing that her party workers "will vote for the candidate who is best positioned to defeat the BJP".

The polling mostly went peaceful except for 10-12 rounds of firing between two groups at booth number 94 for the Jahanabad Assembly bypoll.

While the Uttar Pradesh constituencies fell vacant after Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath became UP Chief Minister and Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya became deputy chief minister, all 3 Bihar seats fell vacant due to the death of their respective representatives.

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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.

Sarfaraz quit as a JD (U) MLA before becoming the RJD candidate from his father's fiefdom.

Araria bypoll in Bihar: Fifty-seven per cent polling was recorded in the by-election to the Araria Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar, a senior poll official said.

Though fourteen candidates are in the fray in Jehanabad, the fight is mainly between the RJD's Kumar Krishna Mohan and JD (U)'s Abhiram Sharma, who took the seat in the 2010 assembly election. Ten candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur.

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