Counting of votes for the by-election to the Araria Lok Sabha constituency and two assembly seats in Bihar will begin on Wednesday morning amid tight security arrangements.The by-poll in Araria is being viewed as a test for the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine as well as the opposition RJD-Congress alliance, ahead of the big battle in the general elections due next year.The by-election to the Araria seat was necessitated by the death of sitting RJD lawmaker Mohd Taslimuddin. In the Bhabua and Jehanabad Assembly constituencies, where by-polls were also held, the voter turnout was 54.03% and 50.06% respectively.The ruling JD(U)-BJP combine and the opposition RJD-Congress alliance were locked in a battle on the three seats.This is the first electoral battle in the state since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who also heads the JD(U), walked out of the alliance with the RJD and the Congress and joined the BJP-led NDA last year.In Jehanabad, the RJD hopes to retain the Assembly seat that fell vacant after the death of Mundrika Yadav. The party gave ticket to Yadav’s son Kumar Krishna Mohan.On the other hand, the BJP is hopeful of retaining the Bhabhua Assembly seat riding on a sympathy wave for Anand Bhushan Pandey whose death at the age of 48 necessitated the bypoll. The saffron party fielded Pandey’s wife Rinky Rani.
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