BJP, JD(U) fight prestige battle in UP, Bihar Lok Sabha bypolls today

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"Gorakhpur recorded a turnout of 43 per cent and Phulpur 37.39 per cent. Polling was peaceful and no untoward incidents related to law and order were reported", said the State election officer. While RJD fielded Sarfaraz Alam, BJP gave ticket to Pradeep Kumar Singh, who was local MP from 2009 to 2014, but lost to Alam's father late Mohammed Taslimuddin of RJD in 2014.

Around 31.25 per cent voters cast their votes in the ongoing by-poll at for the Araria Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar on Sunday till 12 noon.

The Bihar bypolls are seen as a litmus test for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after he pulled out of the state's Grand Alliance and joined the BJP.

Araria saw a 57 per cent voter turnout, while Jehanabad and Bhabua witnessed 50.6 and 54.3 per cent polling, respectively.

BJP combine and the opposition alliance of RJD-Congress are battling for the three seats, all of which fell vacant due to the deaths of the sitting representatives. The bye-elections were necessitated for both the seats after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their constituencies following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.

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The saffron party has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP's Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, respectively. Also, two assembly seats Jehanabad and Bhabhua will go for byelection.

Janata Dal (United) is contesting the Jehanabad assembly seat, leaving Araria and Bhabua to its ally, the BJP. Mr Yadav's son Kumar Krishna Mohan is contesting from this seat.

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.

The BJP is counting on a sympathy wave for Anand Bhushan Pandey, whose death at 48 has necessitated the bypoll in Bhabhua, to help retain the seat. Another key candidate in the fray is JDU's Abhiram Sharma.

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