New Delhi: Around 66 per cent of the 54.5 lakh electorate voted on Saturday in the five by-elections across Karnataka, a poll official said. “Polling picked up post-noon and was moderate to heavy towards the end, with 66 per cent average voting in three Lok Sabha and two assembly segments in the state,” an Election Commission official told IANS here. Also Read - Karnataka Bypoll Results: Congress-JD(S) Combine Claims 4:1 Victory Over BJP; Calls it 'Trailer For 2019'
Polling was held from 7.00 AM to 6.00 PM in Bellary (ST), Mandya and Shimoga parliamentary constituencies and Jamkhandi and Ramanagara assembly segments in the southern state. “Voting was by and large peaceful barring stray incidents of EVM (electronic voting machine) malfunctioning and names of voters missing in a few polling stations in all the segments,” the official said. Also Read - K'taka Bypoll Results: BJP Fails Key test as Congress Wins Reddy Brothers' Bastion Ballari Lok Sabha Seat
According to provisional data at the end of polling, 77.17 per cent voting was recorded in Jamkhandi, followed by 71.88 per cent in Ramanagara, 63.85 per cent in Bellary (reserved), 61.05 per cent in Shimoga and 53.93 per cent in Mandya. “The final polling percentage in each constituency will be known by late night on receiving the complete data,” the official added. Also Read - Karnataka By-election 2018 Results Live News Updates: Congress, JD(S) Win One Assembly Seat Each; BJP Wins Shivamogga
In all, 31 candidates are in the fray, including five from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), three from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and two from the Congress. 21 others are Independents or from regional outfits. As a ruling coalition, the JD-S and Congress have fielded joint candidates in all the by-polls to consolidate their votes. JD-S is contesting from Mandya, Shimoga and Ramanagara and the Congress from Bellary and Jamkhandi.
Though the BJP fielded candidates for all five seats, its nominee L. Chandrashekar on Thursday withdrew from the contest in Ramanagara after resigning from the party and re-joining the Congress. Two women – Anitha, wife of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, and J. Shantha, sister of BJP legislator B. Sriramulu, are contesting in Ramanagara and Bellary (reserved) seats.
Sons of three former Chief Ministers were locked in a triangular contest from Shimoga in Malnad region. They are B.Y. Raghavendra, son of BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was the party’s first chief minister in the south from 2008 to 2011, Madhu Bangarappa, younger son of late Congress Chief Minister S. Bangarappa (1990-92) and Mahima Patel, son of late Janata Dal-United (JD-S) Chief Minister J.H. Patel (1996-99).
L.R. Shivarame Gowda of the JD-S and Siddaramaiah of the BJP are the candidates in Mandya. In Jamkhandi, the Congress fielded Anand Siddu, son of its senior leader Siddu Nyamagouda, whose sudden death in a road mishap on May 28 necessitated the by-poll. Srikant Kulkarni is the BJP candidate against Siddu.
In Bellary, the Congress fielded its state Legislative Council member V.S. Ugrappa against BJP’s Shantha, as both belong to the dominant Valmiki tribal community.
The Lok Sabha by-elections were held to fill vacancies caused by the resignation of its three sitting members — BJP’s Yeddyurappa from Shimoga and Sriramaulu from Bellary, and C. Puttaraju of the JD-S from Mandya on being elected to the assembly in the May 12 elections.
The Ramanagara by-poll was held to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Kumaraswamy, who retained the adjacent Channapatna assembly seat after contesting and winning from both the seats.
Counting of votes is on November 6.