Voting begins for crucial bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar

UP by polls Gorakhpur Phulpur LS by-elections to take place today

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath voted in the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-elections.

Bihar is voting for by-elections to the Araria parliamentary seat and two assembly seats i.e, Jehanabad and Bhabua. The Congress has fielded Manish Mishra as its candidate.

According to Election Commission (EC) officials, 43 per cent voters had exercised their franchise in Gorakhpur when official voting hours ended at 5 p.m. while this percentage was just 38 per cent for the Phulpur seat in Allahabad.

Attacking the BSP and the SP, the chief minister said "SP-BSP alliance is an opportunistic alliance and people will reject them in this by polls". Similarly, in Phulpur, there are 793 polling centres and 2,059 polling booths.

Bharatiya Janata Party's Upendra Dutt Shukla is in the fray in Gorakhpur, represented by Adityanath since 1998.

For these bypolls, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the SP have set aside their rivalry to join forces. A total of 19.63 lakh voters decided the fate of 22 candidates.

By-elections are also being conducted on Sunday at Phulpur, the constituency that was earlier represented by UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

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Phulpur, once represented by the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, witnessed a saffron surge in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as Maurya won there. Sources are saying that this will be the first major electoral test for Nitish Kumar who walked out of the Mahagathbandhan past year and joined hands with the BJP to form the government.

The byelections in Uttar Pradesh are significant since they mark the new alliance of the SP and the BSP which could change the complexion of politics in the state if it proves a success.

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

The counting of votes will be held on March 14.

In the Bhabua assembly, the key battle is between BJP fielded candidate Rinki Rani Pandey and Shambhu Patel from Congress. Election became necessary for the seat after the death of BJP leader Anand Bhushan Pandey.

The RJD is trying to retain its Jehanabad seat which fell vacant after the death of its MLA Mundrika Singh Yadav. His son Uday Yadav is contesting the seat against JDU's Abhiram Sharma.

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