Average voter turnout in peaceful polls

Bihar by-polls: Over 30% cast votes in Araria, around 25% in Jehanabad, Bhabua till noon

Bihar by-polls: Over 30% cast votes in Araria, around 25% in Jehanabad, Bhabua till noon

In Araria, ex-MP Taslimuddin's son, Mohammad Sarfaraz Alam, who resigned as a JDU MLA and joined the RJD, was pitted against BJP's Pradip Singh.

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 previous year. Araria Loksabha bypoll saw 57% voter turnout while Bhabhua and Jehanabad saw 54.3% and 50.6% voters respectively.

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.

Slow pace of voting on Sunday marked the by-elections for the high stakes battles in Gorakhpur and Phulpur as poll percentage in the two constituencies went down by almost 10% as compared to the 2014 LS elections.

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.

Out of the three seats, RJD held Araria and Jehanabad seats and the BJP Bhabua. The BJP had fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur.

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This is the first electoral battle in Bihar following the fall of Grand Alliance government in July 2017, when chief minister Nitish Kumar dumped the RJD-Congress combine to join the BJP-led NDA.

In Araria parliamentary constituency, seven candidates are fighting it out.

In Bhabhua, Shambhu Singh Patel of Congress is locked in a tough contest with BJP's Rinky Rani, the widow of BJP legislator Anand Bhushan Pandey who held the seat.

In Jehanabad, the RJD hopes to retain the Assembly seat that fell vacant after the death of Mundrika Yadav. For the ruling JD (U)-BJP combine, it will be a test of the NDA's unity, CM's popularity and their governance policies. "Fresh polling must take place in all these booths", said Quadri.

For bye-elections 2018, a total of 10 candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while there are 22 candidates contesting from Phulpur.

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