Voting begins for UP Lok Sabha bypolls
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Mar 11 : The polling for Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabhabye-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur has begun. State chief minister Yogi Adityanath was seen voting at a polling booth in Gorakhpur constituency. The bypolls in the two constituencies were necessitated after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their seats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, respectively, on taking their office. In Gorakhpur, the key contenders are Upendra Shukla from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Praveen Nishad from Samajwadi Party (SP) and Surhita Chatterjee Karim from Congress. Meanwhile, candidates in the fray for the Phulpur seat are Kaushalendra Singh Patel from the BJP, Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel from the SP and Manish Mishra from the Congress. For these bypolls, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the SP have set aside their rivalry to join forces. Voting for Bihar Lok Sabha and assembly bye-elections has also begun. The parliamentary constituency of Araria and two assembly seats -Jehanabad and Bhabua- are witnessing the polling. The bypolls are being seen as a litmus test for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after he pulled out of the state's grand alliance and joined the BJP. The Araria seat fell vacant after the death of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Mohammad Taslimuddin. The key contenders to the seat are RJD's Sarafaraz Alam, Taslimuddin's son, and the BJP's Pradip Singh. The Bhabua assembly seat became vacant after the death of BJP's Anand Bhushan Pandey, and the party has fielded his widow Rinki Rani Pandey. Another key candidate to the seat is Shambhu Patel from Congress. Similarly, Jehanabad seat also fell vacant following the death of RJD MLA Mundrika Singh Yadav. His son Uday Yadav is contesting the seat against JDU's Abhiram Sharma. The results for both states will be declared on March 14.
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