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Bihar bypolls: 24.17% voter turnout recorded till 11 am

While Mokama recorded 27.30 per cent voter turnout, Gopalganj saw 21.76 per cent turnout till 11 am, they said.

By Newsd
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A voter turnout of 24.17 per cent was recorded till 11 am in Mokama and Gopalganj assembly constituencies in Bihar where polling was underway for by-elections on Thursday, officials said.

While Mokama recorded 27.30 per cent voter turnout, Gopalganj saw 21.76 per cent turnout till 11 am, they said.

Long queues were seen outside many booths as people turned up early to exercise their franchise, officials said.

The bypolls to the two seats are the first election in the state after the formation of the ‘Mahagthabandhan’ government around three months back. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the de-facto leader of the JD(U), dumped the BJP and formed a new coalition government with the RJD, Congress and Left parties in early August.

The polling began at 7 am, and will continue till 6 pm, election officials said.

While 2.70 lakh people are eligible to exercise their franchise in Mokama, the number of voters in Gopalganj is 3.31 lakh.

Of the total 15 candidates in the fray, nine are contesting from Gopalganj and six are in the fray from Mokama.

BJP leader Kusum Devi is pitted against RJD’s Mohan Gupta in Gopalganj. The BJP candidate is the wife of former MLA Subhash Singh whose death necessitated the by-election.

For RJD, which is looking to wrest the seat from the BJP, it is a prestige fight as Gopalganj is the home district of party chief Lalu Prasad.

In Mokama, BJP nominee Sonam Devi is up against RJD’s Neelam Devi, whose husband Anant Singh’s disqualification has necessitated the by-election.

Mokama is the stronghold of Anant Singh since 2005. He won the seat twice on JD(U) ticket.

Singh fought as an RJD candidate in the 2020 elections and retained the seat. But, he was disqualified from the assembly following his conviction in a criminal case.

BJP candidate Sonam Devi, wife of local muscleman Lalan Singh who has been opposed to Anant Singh, is a greenhorn. Her husband is known to be a confidant of dreaded gangster-turned-politician Suraj Bhan Singh.

Suraj Bhan Singh made his electoral debut in the 2000 assembly elections when he wrested the Mokama seat, by an astounding margin, contesting as an Independent and defeating Anant Singh’s elder brother Dilip Singh, who was a minister in the Rabri Devi government.

The BJP is contesting from the Mokama constituency for the first time as the saffron party had, on previous occasions, left the seat to its allies.

”Adequate security arrangements have been made in both assembly seats for the conduct of free and fair polls,” a senior official of the Chief Electoral Officer’s office said.

The votes will be counted on November 6.

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