Bengaluru: The closely fought Karnataka by-elections for three Lok Sabha and two Vidhan Sabha seats on Saturday saw an estimated 67% voter turnout.
The polls, voting for which began at 7am, were largely viewed as a litmus test for the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition.
The final voting percentage at Jamakhandi legislative constituency was 77.17%, while Ramanagaram constituency recorded over 71.18%. The parliamentary constituencies Bellary, Shivamogga and Mandya witnessed 65.85%, 61.05% and 53.93% respectively.
In all the five constituencies, the Congress-JDS coalition partners have fielded joint candidates. Congress fielded its contestants in Bellary and Jamakhandi seats, while the JDS fielded in Shivamogga, Mandya and Ramanagaram.
In Ramanagara, the JDS propped up Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha Kumaraswamy. The bypoll was necessitated after Kumaraswamy, who contested on two seats — Channapatna and Ramanagaram — in the assembly elections earlier this year, decided to quit from Ramanagaram and continued as Chennapatna legislator.
Just two weeks ahead of the elections, Congress local leader L Chandrashekhar joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), dealing a big blow to Congress party cadres. Chandrashekhar received a warm welcome from BJP and was fielded as a candidate from Ramanagaram. But in a twist of events, Chandrashekhar rejoined Congress just days before the elections and campaigned for Anitha Kumaraswamy.
Among all five constituencies, Shivamogga and Bellary are considered to be crucial seats for all the three parties.
Shivamogga witnessed a contest between sons of three former Chief Ministers of Karnataka. State BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra, former CM Bangarappa’s son Madhu Bangarappa and late JH Patel’s son Mahima Patel were in the fray.
Before state coalition partners announced their candidates, it was touted as a one-sided contest as Shivamogga is considered Yeddyurappa’s stronghold. However, after the JDS announced its decision to field Madhu Bangarappa, the contest became closely contested.
Yeddyurappa expressed confidence in BJP wining a majority in all five constituencies. The state BJP chief also asserted that he was “hundred per cent sure” about his son’s victory.
Bellary, yet another region considered to be the stronghold of the BJP, also witnessed a good voter turnout. Water resource minister DK Shivakumar, who is also Bellary District Incharge Minister, had led the campaign, urging people to end the rule of the associates of mining baron Gali Janardana.
Former MP and BJP state vice president B Sriramulu and DK Shivakumar had traded barbs throughout the campaign. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s close aide VS Ugrappa contested against BJP’s J Shantha in the Bellary assembly seat.
The results for the five seats will be declared on November 6.