Crucial bypolls held in Bihar

Assembly by-polls begin in Bihar
Patna, Aug 21:  About 34 per cent voting was recorded till 2 PM in the crucial bypolls being held in 10 Assembly seats in Bihar.

According to Election Commission sources, 33.80 per cent voting was recorded in the 10 seats by 2 PM. Narkatiaganj Assembly seat witnessed the maximum voting of 43 per cent, the EC statement said.

Voting percentage was 28 at Rajnagar (SC) seat, Jale (31 per cent), Chapra (33 per cent), Hajipur (35 per cent), Mohiuddinnagar (36 per cent), Parbatta (38 per cent), Bhagalpur (30 per cent), Banka (33 per cent) and Mohania (SC) (33.6 per cent), the EC statement said.

The bypolls are a litmus test for the Lalu-Nitish combine to stage a comeback in Bihar politics which is at present being ruled by the BJP.

The outcome of the bypoll, the first major political event after the general elections, is significant as it will show the mood of the people before next year's Assembly polls. Counting of votes will take place on August 25.

The bypoll results will also demonstrate if the experiment of reunion of "mandal forces" represented by Lalu Prasad's RJD and Nitish Kumar's JD(U) in the company of Congress has scored a success.

Stakes are also high for the BJP-led NDA in the bypoll. Six out of the 10 seats were won by the BJP in the 2010 Assembly election. Moreover, they have the challenge to prove that massive victory in the recent general election was not a fluke.

Considering this in mind, the BJP leaders along with its allies LJP and Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSO) aggressively campaigned for the bypoll. Altogether 94 candidates including 5 women are in the fray.

Hajipur has maximum 15 contestants while Banka and Rajnagar (SC) have a minimum of six candidates each. A total of 26,42,407 voters will exercise their franchise in 2,422 booths.

Except for Maoist-hit Hajipur, Parbatta and Banka where voting will take place from 7:00 AM to 4.00 PM, in the remaining seven constituencies the duration will be 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere so far during the voting which is taking place under tight security.


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