The process of filing of nominations for the November 3 bypolls to Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) Assembly constituencies in Karnataka began on Friday, with issuing of election notification. Congress' T B Jayachandra was the lone candidate who filed his nomination on Friday, the first day to so, from Sira; while no candidate filed papers from R R Nagar segment.
The by-elections have been necessitated for Sira following the death of JD(S) legislator B Sathyanarayana in August; while the Rajarajeshwari Nagar seat fell vacant following the disqualification of Congress MLA N Munirathna under the anti-defection law last year.
While the Congress has fielded Jayachandra, a former Minister, who had represented the seat in the past as the candidate from Sira, JD(S) with an eye on sympathy votes has fielded Ammajamma, the wife of late Sathyanarayana as the candidate.
The ruling BJP is yet to announce its candidate and speculation is rife that radiologist Dr C M Rajesh Gowda, the son of former Congress MP C P Mudalagiriyappa, who had recently joined the party, may get the ticket.
In R R Nagar, the Congress has fielded a fresh face in the form of Kusuma H, wife of IAS officer DK Ravi, who died in March 2015.
The 31-year old holds an MS degree in information technology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is currently an assistant professor of computer science engineering at Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering.
The JD(S) has shortlisted three probables -- party city unit chief R Praksah, RR Nagar President Bettaswamy Gowda and a leader from the Jnananbharathi ward Krishnamurthy; while the ruling BJP is also yet to announce its candidate.
There is speculation that the BJP may field Munirathna, whose disqualification has necessitated the bypolls, from the seat, but there are also reports about strong resistance within the party against his candidature, as a section of the party has pitched for fielding Tulsi Muniraju Gowda, the party's defeated candidate in the 2018 elections.
The last date for the filing of nomination is October 16, the scrutiny of papers will take place the next day.
The last date for withdrawal of candidature is October 19 and results of the bypolls will be declared on November 10.
As per the general guidelines issued by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer-Karnataka, a group of 5 people including candidates will be allowed for a door-to-door campaign.
Election meetings like public gathering/ rallies may be conducted subject to adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, it said, adding that a kit with masks, sanitiser, face-shield and gloves will be provided to every polling official and security personnel.
The election model code of conduct is in force and for it to be enforced 42 flying squads and 35 static surveillance teams have been activated, it said.