Bihar: 10.78 pc turnout recorded in five LS seats till 9 am

Khagaria/Araria/Madhepura, May 7 (PTI) Around 10.78 per cent of over 98 lakh voters exercised their franchise in five Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar till 9 am on Tuesday, an election official said.

Voting in Araria, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Madhepura and Khagaria seats, all currently held by the NDA, began at 7 am amid tight security and will continue till 6 pm, he said.

Supaul recorded the highest turnout of 11.41 per cent, followed by Araria (10.97), Madhepura (10.71), and 10.41 per cent each in Khagaria and Jhanjharpur till 9 am.

The electoral fate of 54 candidates will be decided in the third phase of polling in Bihar.

The BJP holds Araria, where sitting MP Pradeep Singh’s bid to retain the seat has received the main challenge from RJD’s Shahnawaz, whose late father Taslimuddin, a former Union minister, had wrested the constituency from the saffron party leader in 2014, surmounting the Modi wave.

The RJD is also locked in straight battles with JD(U) in Madhepura and Supaul.

In Madhepura, from where RJD chief Lalu Prasad had himself won twice, JD(U) MP Dinesh Chandra Yadav’s bid to hold on to the seat is being challenged by Kumar Chandradeep, who teaches English at a college in Patna, but also happens to be the son of late Ramendra Kumar Yadav, who had been a member of both Houses in Parliament.

In adjoining Supaul, the RJD has counterintuitively fielded Chandrahas Choupal, its MLA from one of the two reserved assembly segments falling in the Lok Sabha constituency.

Jhanjharpur has gone to the Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) headed by former state minister Mukesh Sahni, who belatedly joined the Mahagathbandhan and got three seats from the RJD’s quota of 26, in a state where the total number is 40.

Khagaria is one seat where the contest is, primarily, between two debutants. The sitting MP Mehboob Ali Kaiser, who won the seat twice on the trot for Lok Janshakti Party of late Ram Vilas Paswan, has been denied a ticket by the latter’s son Chirag.

Chirag, whose party is now known as LJP (Ram Vilas), has fielded a confidant Rajesh Verma, prompting Kaiser to join RJD. Kaiser’s son Yusuf Salahuddin is the RJD MLA from Simri Bakhtiyarpur, which falls under Khagaria.

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