Karnataka readies for 5 by-elections on Saturday

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Bengaluru, Nov 2 (IANS) A total of 54.5 lakh electorate, including 27.2 lakh men and 27.3 lakh women, will vote in 6,543 polling booths across 3 Lok Sabha and two assembly constituencies of Karnataka, by-elections for which will take place tomorrow, a poll official said on Friday.

“Polling will be held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Bellary (ST), Mandya and Shimoga parliamentary constituencies and Jamkhandi and Ramanagaram assembly segments under tight security,” an Election Commission official told IANS.

Vote counting in all the five by-elections is on November 6.

As 51,131 voters are physically challenged, the poll panel has arranged vehicles to freely ferry them for voting from their homes and drop them back.

In all, 31 candidates are in the fray, including five from the opposition BJP, three from the Congress and two from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and 21 others as Independents or from regional outfits.

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Two women, Anitha, wife of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, and J. Shantha, sister of BJP legislator B. Sriramulu, are contesting from Ramanagaram and Bellary (reserved) seats respectively.

Sons of three former state chief ministers are 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 2008-11, Madhu Bangarappa, younger son of former Congress chief minister S. Bangarappa (1990-92) and Mahima Patel, son of Janata Dal-United (JD-S) chief minister J.H. Patel (1996-99).

Yeddyurappa, who won from Shimoga in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, resigned in May on getting elected to the assembly in the May 12 state elections from the Shikaripura segment.

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As the ruling coalition partners, 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 Ramanagaram and the Congress from Bellary and Jamkhandi.

Though the BJP has fielded candidates for all five seats, its nominee L. Chandrashekar on Thursday withdrew from the contest in Ramanagaram after resigning from the party and re-joining the Congress. He has also extended support to JD-S nominee Anitha, wife of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

L.R. Shivarame Gowda is the JD-S candidate for Mandya, where resignation of the party’s member S. Puttaraju on being elected to the assembly from Melukote in Mandya district in the old Mysuru region has caused the vacancy. Puttaraju is a minister in the coalition government. Siddaramaiah is the BJP candidate in Mandya.

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For Jamkhandi, Congress has fielded Anand Siddu, son of its senior leader Siddu Nyamagouda, whose sudden death in a road accident on May 28 necessitated the by-election. The BJP has fielded Srikant Kulkarni against Siddu.

In Bellary, the Congress has fielded its state legislative council member V.S. Ugrappa against BJP’s Shantha as both belonging to the dominant Valmiki tribal community.

–IANS

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