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. 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.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former mayor of Varanasi, Kaushlendra Singh Patel as its candidate from Phulpur while Upendra Shukla would contest from Gorakhpur. The counting of votes will be held on March 14.
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.
Official sources said here that voters are casting their votes for Araria Lok Sabha seat, Jehanabad assembly seat and Bhabhua assembly seat where by-polls were necessitated following deaths of sitting representatives. He again became the Chief Minister with the support of BJP and Sushil Modi became his deputy. In Jehanabad Assembly seat, the RJD fielded Uday Yadav.
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The ruling Janata Dal (United) and the BJP are facing a Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal combine in all the three battles.
In Araria, ex-MP Taslimuddin's son Md Sarfaraz Alam, who resigned as a JD (U) MLA and joined RJD was pitted against BJP's Pradip Singh. The bypoll 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.
For bye-elections 2018, a total of 10 candidates are in the fray from Gorakhpur, while there are 22 candidates contesting from Phulpur.
Meanwhile, an FIR was lodged against Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai for allegedly violating the model code of conduct when he said "Araria will turn into an ISI hub if the RJD candidate won the seat" while campaigning in Narpatganj on March 9. On the other hand, BJP nominated Pradeep Kumar Singh. JD (U) has fielded Abhiram Sharma as its candidate who is giving tough challenge to RJD candidate Mr Yadav.