Mega by-polls in Bihar, UP underway

Bahujan Samaj Party workers seeking votes for Samajwadi Party alliance candidate Praveen Nishad at Turkmanpur in Gorakhpur on Friday

The bypolls in the constituencies were required after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya left the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats, following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.

Live updates of Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypoll Loksabha election, are here. Besides Central forces, over 11,000 state police personnel and officers have been deployed in Phulpur and 10,000 in Gorakhpur.

The voting for the bye-elections to the two Lok Sabha seats began on a boring note but picked up momentum in the day amid tight security, they said.

The bypoll began at 7 AM and voting will end at 5 PM.

Gorakhpur is significant for the BJP as it is the bastion of the chief minister, who represented the seat in the Lok Sabha five times.

A 30.20 percent voter turnout in Gorakhpur whereas a 19.20 percent in Phulpur was recorded till 1 p.m.

There are total 32 candidates in the fray for the two by-polls which include three women candidates.

There are 22 candidates contesting from Phulpur. It will also test the recently formed electoral arrangement between the two arch-rivals - Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP).

The by-elections are expected to witness a triangular contest between the ruling BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress.

Adityanath, who vacated the Gorakhpur seat after his elevation as the Chief Minister, had held it since 1998. The Chief Minister exuded confidence that the BJP will retain both the seats with a comfortable margin. Prior to Yogi Adityanath, the seat was represented in parliament by his mentor Yogi Avaidyanath thrice. However, the tragedy in Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College past year where over 70 infants died due to lack of oxygen may have an impact on the results. The BSP has extended its support to the SP candidates in both the seats whereas there are reports of tacit understanding of the Congress with the SP.

The strength of the much-discussed Opposition unity will also be tested in the bypoll, especially after BSP chief Mayawati chose to bury her 24-year rivalry with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and extend support to SP candidates: Praveen Kumar Nishad in Gorakhpur and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel in Phulpur.

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