Today's by-poll to the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat in Bihar has generated much political heat between old rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav. As people in the constituency voted, the primary contest is between strongman Prabhunath Singh of Mr Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and state Education Minister PK Shahi of the Janata Dal (U). But the larger tussle for prestige is between the former and present Chief Ministers.
Lalu Yadav has spent the last few weeks campaigning extensively across Maharajganj, and is calling it the semi-finals ahead of the 2014 general elections. He says the Nitish Kumar government's image has taken a beating across the state due to perceptions of corruption within government ranks and lack of infrastructure development in the state.
Mr Kumar, on the other hand, has brushed aside Mr Yadav's challenge, effectively dubbing him a pretender in Bihar now and has claimed Mr Shahi will win handsomely.
The seat became vacant after the RJD MP Umashankar Singh died.
By-polls to four Lok Sabha and six Assembly seats were held across the country today.