Bypolls to Shivamogga, Bellary, and Mandya Lok Sabha seats, and Ramanagaram and Jamkhandi Assembly segments began at 7 a.m. and will go on till 6 p.m.
Voting for the bypolls to the three Lok Sabha and two Assembly constituencies in Karnataka began on Saturday, which is seen as a litmus test for the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition.
About 40% of the electorate cast their votes on Saturday till 1 pm for the by-elections the Ramanagaram Assembly constitutency.
The figures were 6% for the first two hours to the other Assembly and three Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka.
Bypolls to Shivamogga, Mandya, and Ramanagaram Lok Sabha seats, and Bellary and Jamkhandi Assembly segments began at 7 a.m. and will go on till 6 p.m.
A total of 54,54,275 voters are eligible to cast their franchise in about 6,450 polling stations. Counting of votes will be on November 6.
Here are the latest updates:
Inputs from Karnataka Bureau
Polling percentage at 1:00 p.m.
Haraginadoni village residents refrain from voting
Residents of Haraginadoni village, who had agreed to withdraw their dharna and participate in polling before the Deputy Commissioner on October 2, went back on their words on Saturday.
The villagers staged a demonstration on October 2 and threatened to boycott polling during the by-elections to the Bellary Lok Sabha seat to protest against the failure of the administration in providing them drinking water.
None of the nearly 2,000 voters in the village participated in the polling.
All the three booths in a compound was deserted and only the poll officers and police were seen.
Polling percentage at 11:00 a.m.
Technical snag at K. Kodihalli booth
Polling was delayed by one hour at K. Kodihalli booth at Maddur taluk due to a technical snag in the electronic voting machine.
Yeddyurappa, sons cast votes
Shivamogga: B.S. Yeddyurappa, president of Bharatiya Janata Party State unit, exercised his franchise for the by-election for Shivamogga parliamentary seat at his native Shikaripur on Saturday.
He came to the polling station after offering pooja at Huchurayaswamy temple. He was accompanied by his sons — B.Y. Raghavendra, BJP candidate for the by-election and B.Y. Vijayendra.
Anand Nyamagouda exercises his franchise
Bagalkot: Congress candidate from Jamkhandi Assembly constituency Jamkhandi Taluk Anand Nyamagouda casts his vote, along with his family members, after visiting his father Siddu Nyamagouda’s grave to take his blessing.
Polling begins on a dull note
Polling in Bellary district recorded 4.4% during the first two hours —up to 9.00 a.m. Unlike in general elections polling booths wore a deserted look with very few voters coming in to exercise their franchise.
The voting percentage in Ramanagaram is around 9% and in Mandya it is nearly 4% in the first two hours.
31 candidates in the fray
There are a total 31 candidates in the fray in all the five constituencies, though the contest is mainly between the Congress-JDS combine and the BJP. Counting of votes will be on Tuesday.
Officials at the State Chief Electoral Officer’s office said a total of 1,502 polling stations had been declared as sensitive.
More than 35,000 polling personnel will be on duty for the bypolls, in which 8,922 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used, they added.
Senior police officials said elaborate security arrangements had been made in all the five constituencies.
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 (BJP).
While the Congress has fielded its candidates in Jamkhandi and Bellary, the JDS is contesting in Shivamogga, Ramanagaram 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 Ramanagaram 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 Ramanagaram 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 Bellary, 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.
Lok Sabha and Assembly seats
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 Mr. Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga) and Mr. Sriramalu (Bellary), 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 Ramanagaram fell vacant after Mr. Kumaraswamy gave up the seat preferring Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had won.