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Bypolls pass off peacefully in Bihar with 54% voting

The bye-elections in Bihar were held for the first time since Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) parted ways with the RJD-Congress alliance and joined hands with the BJP to remain chief minister.

patna Updated: Mar 11, 2018 21:04 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar bypolls,Araria Lok Sabha seat,Jehanabadassembly constituency
People stand in queue to cast vote for the Jehanabad Assembly bypoll in Bihar on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Bypolls in three constituencies—Araria Lok Sabha seat and Bhabua and Jehanabad assembly seats—passed off peacefully in Bihar on Sunday, with 54% of the electorate exercising their franchise although polling was marred by malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Bhabua and boycott at a few booths.

The bypolls that were necessitated owing to demise of the lawmakers witnessed 57% voting in Araria, 54.3% in Bhabua and 50.6% in Jehanabad.

The bypolls will decide the fate of 38 candidates who were in the fray. But in all the constituencies, the nominees of RJD-Congress alliance and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are the major contenders.

Pradip Singh (BJP) and Sarfaraz Alam (RJD) are the main contenders from Araria while Rinki Rani Pandey (BJP) and Shambhu Singh Patel (Congress) are the top two candidates in Bhabua. Abhiram Sharma (JDU) and Krishna Mohan alias Suday Yadav (RJD) are the lead contenders in Jehanabad.

The by-elections in Bihar assume considerable significance mainly because they have been held for the first time under the new political set up that saw Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) parting ways with the RJD-Congress alliance and joining hands with the BJP once again.

In a high-voltage drama in July last year, Kumar stepped down as Grand Alliance (GA) chief minister only to be sworn in again as the NDA leader with the BJP’s support.

Chief election officer, Bihar, Ajay Nayak said the bypolls passed off peacefully with no reports of violence from any part of the three constituencies. “There were reports of delays in voting at some booths. Decision for re-poll will be taken after analysing the reports of election officers in the field,” he said.

Reports said the Bhabua district administration recommended re-polling on 24 booths where voting could not commence within two hours of the schedule due to faulty EVMs. Voters in villages like Kohari, Hariharpur, Manihari and Tiloi as well as Bhabua Town could not cast their votes as EVMs were not operational.

A few incidents of poll boycotts were also reported. Reports said that voters of Jokikat area of Araria refused to cast their votes at booth number 181 and 182 in protest against the government’s apathy to building roads to their village. Natives of Miria village of Bhabua and Akhtiyarpur of Jehanabad also boycotted the bypoll to vent their anger over absence of roads to villages.

An incident of criminals firing in the air was reported from Shakurabad area of Jehanabad. The police later said firing had nothing to do with the election, as it happened in a village of the bordering Arwal district, which was a few hundred metres away from a polling booth in Jehanabad.

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 20:14 IST