Mega bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar; test for BJP and Nitish

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After the voting Chief election officer of Bihar, Ajay Nayak reported to media persons and said that bypolls have passed off peacefully without any violence. The poll was necessitated because of the death of Mohd Taslimuddin of RJD whose son Sarfaraz Alam has been fielded.

Average voter turnout marked the by-elections to the Araria Lok Sabha constituency and the Jehanabad and Bhabua Assembly seats in Bihar on Sunday as polling was held in peaceful conditions, without any violence.

This is the first bypoll for Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar after it severed ties with the grand alliance previous year. Araria Loksabha bypoll saw 57% voter turnout while Bhabhua and Jehanabad saw 54.3% and 50.6% voters respectively. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin.

Meanwhile, candidates in the fray for the Phulpur seat are Kaushalendra Singh Patel from the BJP, Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel from SP and Manish Mishra from Congress.

Of the 11 preventive arrests made by the police today, one was arrested in Araria Lok Sabha constituency while others were nabbed in Bhabhua Assembly seat, police said.

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Araria Lok Sabha constituency comprises Assembly segments of Narpatganj, Sikti, Jokihat, Forbesganj, Raniganj and Araria. RJD has fielded Yadav's son Kumar Krishna Mohan for the by-election.

Counting of votes will take place on March 14. JD (U) has fielded Abhiram Sharma as its candidate who is giving tough challenge to RJD candidate Mr Yadav.

While the BJP led NDA is hoping to clinch the three seats on its development plank and upper caste- backward vote bank, the RJD-Congress combine is trying to queer the pitch for its rival by riding high on secularism and its Muslim-Yadav combination, especially in Araria and Jehanabad seats.

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. There were 17 candidates in the fray in Bhabhua.

JD (U) had initially stated that it will not contest the bye-elections but later relented at BJP's urging to contest from Jehanabad.

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