Patna: As voting is underway in Bihar for bypolls, Congress and BJP allege EVM malfunction in at least 100 booths in Bhabua assembly constituency.
Bihar Pradesh Committee acting president Kaukab Qadri told News18 that he is going to approach the Election Commission as the district magistrate is not acting on his complaints. Qadri alleged that DM confessed that there was some problem with the EVMs but said it was minor and only 21 machines are non-functional.
“We have a shortage of EVM experts here and due to my faulty mobile phone, I cannot get in touch with people,” said Rajeshwar Prasad Singh, DM Kaimur (Bhabua).
Bhabua Congress candidate Shambhu Patel accused district administration of a sinister design to defeat him. He said the DM was colluding with BJP cadres.
About 23% electorate cast their votes till 11 am in by-elections in Bihar's Araria, 20.3% in Bhabua and 19.2% in Jahanabad on Sunday, where the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine and the opposition RJD-Congress alliance are locked in a battle.
The bye-elections are being held for Araria Lok Sabha seat and, Jahanabad and Bhabhua Assembly constituencies.
Numerically, these bypolls might not be important. However, this is being termed as a litmus test for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as this is the first public test since he pulled out of RJD-Congress alliance and allied with the BJP-led NDA.
This is also a test for NDA's unity and strength as just before the polls, Jitan Ram Manjhi, former CM and leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), left NDA and joined the Mahagathbandhan.
Bypolls for Araria Lok Sabha seat was necessitated after the demise of the sitting RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin. His son Sarfaraz Alam, JD (U) MLA from Jokihat Assembly segment of the constituency, defected after announcement of bypolls and is fighting on RJD ticket. He is up against BJP's Pradip Singh, who was a runner-up in 2014 elections.
Going by 2014 arithmetic, the combined votes of BJP and JD (U) was much more than the winning margin of Taslimuddin. However, sources said the contest is more than a question of simple arithmetic as the social combination of the seat is learnt to be leaning towards the Mahagathbandhan. Muslims and Yadavs form more than 50 percent of total electorate who are considered to be staunch supporters of the RJD.
The BJP is banking on popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pro-development figure of Kumar.
Jehanabad assembly seat was also held by the RJD. After the death of its MLA Mundrika Singh Yadav, the party has given ticket to his son Sujay Yadav who is up against JD (U) leader Abhiram Sharma.
In Bhabhua, Rinky Pandey is contesting on BJP's ticket as the by poll was necessitated after the demise of her husband Anand Bhushan Pandey. The RJD conceded the seat for its ally Congress which has fielded Shambhu Patel in the fray.