Nitish Kumar | Photo: ANI
Patna: The opposition BJP and the ruling JD(U) in Bihar were fighting neck and neck with the latter gaining a lead of 1,802 votes after the ninth round of counting in the bypoll for by-election to the Kurhani assembly constituency in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.
The JD(U)'s Manoj Singh Kushwaha bagged 34,000 votes, while his nearest rival, Kedar Gupta of the BJP, got 32,198 votes.
Gupta was leading till the eighth round of counting.
Altogether 13 candidates, five of them Independents, are in the fray though the contest is being seen, primarily, as between Gupta and Kushwaha. Both are former MLAs.
The by-poll was necessitated by the disqualification of sitting RJD MLA Anil Kumar Sahani.
Gupta had lost to Sahani by less than 700 votes in the 2020 assembly polls which BJP and JD(U) had fought in alliance. Now, the JD(U) is a part of “Mahagathbandhan” comprising RJD, Congress and the Left parties.
Nearly 58 per cent of voters exercised their franchise on Monday in the by-poll to Kurhani where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and the BJP have locked horns for the first time since their break-up four months ago.