Voting begins for UP Lok Sabha bypoll in Gorakhpur and Phulpur

Bihar Lok Sabha bypolls Complaint filed against Bihar BJP chief Nithyanand Rai over ‘Araria will be ISI hub’ remark

Araria LS by-poll to see keen contest between NDA and Grand Alliance

The reason behind the lower than expected turnout in the high-stakes polls in UP, the country's electorally most significant state with 80 Lok Sabha seats, was said to be a lack of enthusiasm among voters who are now looking forward to the general elections next year.

State BJP President Nityanand Rai, addressing a public meeting on Friday, said that Araria would turn into "an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) hub if Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) wins the by-poll".

Polling officers seal EVM at the end of polling of Phulpur Lok Sabha bypoll election, in Allahabad on Sunday. As per the report from Election Commission of India (ECI) 54% voter turnout has been registered on Araria, Bhabhau and Jehanabad seats.

The bypolls in the two constituencies were necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their seats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, respectively, on taking their office.

"The people know that development is the only panacea", he told reporters.

The bye-elections are being watched with much eagerness as this is the first electoral battle in the state since last year's political realignment when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who also heads the JD (U), walked out of the Grand Alliance and rejoined the BJP-led NDA.

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The saffron party has fielded Pandey's wife Rinky Rani and her principal challenger is Congress candidate Shambhu Singh Patel.

On the same day, the Lok Sabha by-election for two constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, namely Gorakhpur and Phulpur were also held.

In Gorakhpur, the key contenders are Upendra Shukla from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Praveen Nishad from Samajwadi Party (SP) and Surhita Chatterjee Karim from Congress.

Bypolls on constituencies of Bihar passed away peacefully on Sunday. The key contenders to the seat are RJD's Sarafaraz Alam, Taslimuddin's son, and the BJP's Pradip Singh. 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. In Jehanabad Assembly seat, the RJD fielded Uday Yadav.

From Bhabua Assembly seat in Bihar, the BJP has fielded Rinki Pandey, widow of sitting BJP MLA Anand Bhusan Pandey, whose death necessitated the bypolls.

Anjani Kumar, a Forbesganj voter said: "BJP's choice of a non-performing candidate might cost it dearly. Fresh polling must take place in all these booths", said Quadri.

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