Karnataka bypolls: Voting underway, results may decide BJP govt's fate

Voting underway for by-election to Shivaji Nagar seat in Bengaluru | Photo: Twitter@ANI
Karnataka bypolls: Voting began on Thursday for the crucial Karnataka byelections to 15 assembly constituencies. The outcome of the election will will determine the fate of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa led BJP government. 

Polling, which began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, is being held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JDS MLAs. Thirteen of the disqualified MLAs have been fielded by the BJP, which needs to win at least six of the seats to remain in majority in the 225-member assembly.

Seats where bypolls are being held: 

While BJP and Congress are contesting all the 15 seats, JD(S) has fielded candidates in 12. The seats include Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagar, Chikballapur, KR Puram, Yeshwanthpur, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar, Hoskote, KR Pet and Hunsur.

From total voters to number of polling stations: Karnataka bypolls in numbers

The 15 constituencies have over 3.8 million voters, including 1.92 million males and 1.85 million females.

"Voting will be held in 4,185 polling stations, including 884 critical across the 15 Assembly segments, with 5 (constituencies) in the Bengaluru region, 6 in the northwest region, two in the old Mysuru region and one each in northern and southern regions," poll official G Jadiyappa told IANS.

The polling stations have a total of 8,326 ballot units and 8,186 controlling units and 7,876 VVPATs ((Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) for the day-long voting.

As many as 165 candidates, including 126 independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly segments.

Karnataka bypolls result:

Counting of votes will begin on Monday (December 9) morning and the results will be out by evening.

Voter turnout may be low

Political parties and officials were of the view that there is a general feeling among public at large against the bypolls and political developments that led to it and this might affect the turnout.

In any by-election voter turn out will be low, it is not surprising but it cannot be said it will affect or benefit any particular party, because, if the turnout is low, across the constituencies it will be low, a senior BJP functionary said.

A senior Congress office-bearer too said the voter turn out was expected to be low according to the party's internal analysis.

However, he said, despite low voter turn out, it would be advantage Congress as most of those who will come to vote this time will be those who want to defeat the disqualified.

The voice and sentiments are against the disqualified, so it will benefit us," he claimed.

He also said there were chances of core BJP supporters 'displeased' with tickets being given to outsiders (the disqualified MLAs) staying away from mobilising voters and this would also help the Congress.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has urged the voters to come out and vote in large numbers as it was their right.

Only if there is 80-85 per cent voter turnout it will give a meaning to democratic system. As there is holiday in 15 constituencies going for polls, I request the electorate to come out and vote, he said.

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