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Karnataka bypoll: Voting for two Lok Sabha seats underway

By poll votersBangalore: Polling for two vacant Lok Sabha seats in south Karnataka began on Wednesday amid tight security arrangements made by the State Election Commission.

The seats of Mandya and Bangalore Rural fell vacant after the sitting MPs from the JD (Secular) resigned to join the Karnataka Assembly as MLAs after heir elections in May.

Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy represented the Bangalore Rural seat in Lok Sabha. Kumaraswamy possibly preferred to continue as an MLA for five years in view of his uncertain future as an MP since 2014 Lok Sabha elections are just a few months away.

As an MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, he would be able to exert his influence in his constituency more than being an MP in Parliament.

The JD(S), however, does hope to retain the seat and keep it in the family as the party has fielded Anita Kumaraswamy, Kumaraswamy’s wife and daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.

Bangalore Rural is considered to be a JD(S) stronghold.

Meanwhile, the Congress has fielded DK Suresh, brother of former state party working president, DK Shivakumar. Shivakumar is fairly controversial – and was not considered for a cabinet berth in the Siddaramaiah Ministry despite wielding considerable clout in the region.

In Mandya, the ruling Congress has fielded actress Ramya against CS Puttaraju of the JD(S). The BJP is not contesting either seat – but is giving support to the JD(S).

The ruling Congress is confident of winning these seats to prove that its young government in the state is being appreciated by the people – while the JD(S) is also determined to retain the two Lok Sabha seats.

Counting of votes will be done on August 24.