Bengaluru: Polling for four legislative council seats got underway in Karnataka on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Also Read - Against All Odds: The Inspirational Journey of Karnataka’s First Trans-woman Doctor

The MLC polls are taking place for Karnataka South-East Graduates, Karnataka West Graduates’, Karnataka North-East Teachers’ and Bangalore Teachers’ constituencies, which fell vacant due to the retirement of R Chowda Reddy Thoopalli, S V Sankanur, Sharanappa Mattur and Puttanna respectively. Also Read - Karnataka to Get New CM? State BJP Chief Clears Air

The polling began at 8 am and would conclude at 5 pm. Also Read - Karnataka Not To Reopen Schools, Pre-University Colleges in December

The counting of votes will be held on November 2.

Forty candidates are trying their luck in the elections.

Among them are the four whose retirement on June 30 warranted the elections.

There are 2.35 lakh voters in these four constituencies.

Security has been beefed up at the polling stations.

Already prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in and around the booths.

The Election Commission has directed the returning officers to ensure that face masks and social distancing should be maintained by the staff as well as the voters.

Following the guidelines, arrangements have been made for hand sanitisers and thermal screening at all the booths.

There are medical teams deployed around the polling centres as well.

The election is crucial for the BJP as it lacks a majority in the state Legislative Council to pass the crucial bills.

The BJP government could not pass the farm bills and labour reforms amendment bills in the recently held legislature session as it could not get through the upper house despite getting passed in the assembly.

In the council with a strength of 75 members Congress has 28 members, BJP — 27 members, Janata Dal (Secular) — 14 members, one independent, one chairman and four vacant seats.