By-elections for 3 Lok Sabha and 2 Assembly seats, polling begins

11:01 AM, Saturday, November 3rd, 2018
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electionBengaluru: Polling for the by-elections for three Lok Sabha and two Assembly constituencies began on Saturday, November 3.

By-elections are being held in Shivamogga, Bellary (ST) and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies, Ramanagara and Jamkhandi Assembly seats.

There are total 31 candidates in the fray in all the five constituencies.

It is said that the contest is mainly between the Congress-JDS combine and the BJP.

Polling in the by-polls to three Lok Sabha seats – Ballari, Shivamogga and Mandya and Ramanagara – and Jamkhandi assembly segments is being held between 7 am to 6 pm today with a total of 54,54,275 voters eligible to cast their votes in around 6,450 polling stations.

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) are used in all the polling stations in the by-elections.

The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), who came together in a post-poll alliance after the assembly elections in May threw up a hung House, have decided to fight the polls unitedly against the Bharatiya Janata Party.

While the Congress has fielded its candidates in Jamkhandi and Ballari, the JDS is contesting in Shivamogga, Ramanagara and Mandya under an electoral understanding. The outcome of the by-elections is expected to have a bearing on the alliance between the two ruling parties for the parliamentary polls and also be a factor in determining the respective bargaining power.

The BJP, which has been questioning the longevity of the coalition government, has predicted its fall once the bypoll results are out.

Among the prominent candidates in the fray is Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s wife, Anita Kumaraswamy, who is expected to have a smooth sail in Ramanagara after BJP nominee L Chandrashekhar withdrew from the contest and rejoined the Congress.

The BJP had lodged a complaint with the Election Commission about the developments in Ramanagara and requested it to “annul” the elections immediately. The bypolls brought to fore family politics with kin of several leaders being fielded.

In Jamkhandi, Congress candidate Anand Nyamagowda, son of former MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, is pitted against Srikant Kulkarni of the BJP. In Shivamogga, state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa’s son, B Y Raghavendra, is testing his fortunes against another former chief minister S Bangarappa’s son, Madhu Bangarappa, of the JDS.

In Ballari, senior BJP leader Sriramulu’s sister, J Shantha, is fighting against V S Ugrappa of the Congress, considered an outsider. In the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya, JDS’ Shivarame Gowda, is pitted against a fresh face in Dr Siddaramaiah, a retired Commercial Tax officer from the BJP.

The announcement of the bypolls for the Lok Sabha seats came as a surprise to all the three major political parties in the state Congress, BJP and JD(S) who questioned the need for the exercise when the general elections are due early next year.

The by-elections have been necessitated after Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga) and Sriramalu (Ballari), and C S Puttaraju of the JDS (Mandya) resigned as MPs on their election to the assembly in May this year.

Bypolls to Jamkhandi assembly seat was caused by the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, while Ramanagara fell vacant after Kumaraswamy gave up the seat preferring Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had won.

Polling begins in Byndoor

Polling for the Shimoga by-elections began here at Byndoor constituency with MLA Sukumar Shetty casting vote at Byndoor Government College here on Saturday, November 3.

There are over 22, 1972 voters in Byndoor constituency in which 107922 are men and 114049 are women voters. There are 246 polling booths with 1355 officials and 303 D group employees have been deployed on election duty.

There are 95 sensitive polling booths while 59 are most sensitive. Since polling is taking place for the first time at Byndoor taluk constituency, district police Superintendent Laxman Nimbaragi has arrived at the spot.

Over 700 cops, 2 Para-military units and additional police force has been deployed on election duty.

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