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Bihar byelections: Peaceful polling amid poor turnout

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Story Dated: Sunday, March 11, 2018 02:17 hrs UTC

Voter turnout in the three by-elections in Bihar on Sunday was relatively poor with around 55% electorate exercising their franchise.

Besides, complaints of EVM malfunctioning poured in from Jehanabad and Bhabua, the two Assembly constituencies where there is a straight contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance.

"We have received a large number of complaints from Bhabua about non-functional EVMs. We have apprised the EC about it," said the acting president of Bihar Congress, Kaukab Kadri.

Ajay Nayak, the chief electoral officer (CEO) in Bihar, said: "if the complaints would be genuine, repolling could be ordered on March 13." Counting of votes will take place on March 14. 

Meanwhile, polling for Araria Lok Sabha seat was peaceful amid reports of polarisation following the lodging of an FIR against the Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai for his unsavoury remarks against the RJD nominee Sarfaraz Alam. 

The state BJP chief had reportedly told voters in Araria that if in case the RJD candidate wins, then Araria may become the hub for ISI activities.

BJP's Pradeep Singh is the party nominee from Araria against Sarfarz, the son of former RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuudin, whose untimely death led to the by-poll.

Sarfaraz quit as a JD(U) MLA before becoming the RJD candidate from his father's fiefdom.

Taslimuddin had defeated Pradeep Singh by over 1.5 lakh votes during 2014 Lok Sabha elections despite the presence of Modi wave.

The Araria constituency witnessed 56% on Sunday, while in Jehanabad and Bhabua it was 50% and 54% respectively.

The byelections in the three constituencies - one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats - in Bihar assume significance as this is the first-ever poll which has been held after Nitish Kumar switched sides and formed the government with the help of BJP-led NDA after dumping his previous partners RJD and the Congress in July 2017.

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