Bihar Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Naik said polling was held peacefully in the three seats. The poll was necessitated because of the death of Mohd Taslimuddin of RJD whose son Sarfaraz Alam has been fielded.
Amid eleborate security arrangements, polling today began on peaceful note at 0700 hours for by-elections to one Lok Sabha seat and two Assembly seats with electorate exercising their franchise to decide fate of 38 candidates.
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 previous year. Till noon, 31.25 per cent voter turnout has been recorded in Araria; it was 24.5 per cent in Bhabhua and 28.6 per cent in Jehanabad, news agency ANI reported.
The BJP has expressed confidence in winning the UP seats, especially the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat which was represented by Yogi Adityanath for 5 consecutive terms before he was appointed Chief Minister. Shahnaz Khatoon, a first-time voter who has just taken her Class XII exam, said after casting her vote at a booth in Raniganj, "Each member of my family voted".
Araria Lok Sabha constituency comprises Assembly segments of Narpatganj, Sikti, Jokihat, Forbesganj, Raniganj and Araria.
BJP has fielded Pandey's wife Rinky Rani for the seat while the Congress has fielded Shambhu Singh Patel. Also, the opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has led the campaign in as his father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, is in jail in a corruption case.
Out of the three seats, RJD held Araria and Jehanabad seats and the BJP Bhabua. He was contesting against JD (U)'s Abhiram Sharma who had won the seat in 2010 when his party was an ally of the BJP. Jahanabad and Bhabua assembly seats fell vacant due to the deaths of RJD Legislator Mundrika Yadav and BJP legislator Anand Bhushan Pandey, respectively. JD (U) which was earlier reluctant to contest election, fielded its candidate on request from BJP. Ten candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while 22 candidates are contesting from Phulpur.