Less than 50% vote in Bihar bypolls
The by-election for two assembly seats in Bihar, Tarapur in Munger district and Kusheshwar Asthan in Darbhanga district, both won by chief minister’s party Janata Dal (United) in 2020 state polls, concluded peacefully on Saturday, recording a voter turnout of 49
The by-election for two assembly seats in Bihar, Tarapur in Munger district and Kusheshwar Asthan in Darbhanga district, both won by chief minister’s party Janata Dal (United) in 2020 state polls, concluded peacefully on Saturday, recording a voter turnout of 49.59%, much lower than the 54.76% recorded last year.
Counting of votes will take place on November 2, officials said.
State’s chief electoral officer (CEO) H R Srinivasa and additional director general of police (headquarter) Jitendra Singh Gangwar, at a press conference after the polls, said no untoward incident was reported during the polling.
“Twelve people were arrested as a preventive measure during the polls,” Gangwar said.
A total of 17 candidates are in the fray for the two seats. The contest became triangular when allies Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress fell out and fielded candidates for both seats. In 2020, the two parties had unsuccessfully contested from one seat each — RJD from Tarapur and Congress from Kusheshwar Asthan.
In Tarapur, Congress has fielded Rajesh Kumar Singh, who is pitted against Arun Kumar of RJD and Rajiv Kumar Singh of JD(U).
In Kusheshwar Asthan, JD(U)’s Aman Bhushan Hazari, whose father Shashi Bhushan Hazari had won the seat in 2020, is up against Ganesh Bharti of RJD and and Atirek Kumar of Congress. Atirek’s father Dr Ashok Kumar has won the seat multiple times in the past and holds considerable influence in the area.
Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), the Chirag Paswan faction of the LJP, has also fielded candidates from both the seats.
The high-octane campaign for the bypolls was joined by ailing RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who returned to Bihar earlier this week after a gap of more than three-and-a-half years following his incarceration in a Jharkhand jail in fodder scam cases.
Congress, in a rare display of assertiveness in dealing with RJD, fielded its new catch, Kanhaiya Kumar, for the campaigning.
Meanwhile, CEO Srinivasa told reporters that the poll panel was looking into an audio clip being circulated in the social media in which a former block development officer posted at Kusheshwar Asthan is purportedly heard talking apparently to a person close to JD(U) nominee Aman Bhushan Hazari in an intimidating tone and cautioning him to refrain from indulging in any malpractice. “ We have also received the audio clip . We are enquiring into the matter and will take suitable action,” he said.
JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said the audio clip showed how the former BDO, posted in Gaya now, was trying to influence polls in favour of one party. “ They were all making allegations of misuse of official machinery in the polls. See how this officer previously posted in Kusheshwar Asthan is restless to work for one party,” Kumar said, in an apparent dig at RJD which had recently sought the removal of a police officer, alleging he was working in a partisan manner.