Around 67 per cent average voting was registered in the crucial by-elections on Thursday to 15 Karnataka Assembly constituencies, whose results will have a key bearing on the state’s political future.
“The average voting for all the 15 Assembly seats after polling ended at 6 p.m. was 66.49 per cent, with heavy turnout (over 75 per cent) in 8 rural segments and below 55 per cent in 4 Bengaluru seats,” poll official G. Jadiyappa told IANS here.
The vote count is on December 9.
A record 90.44 per cent turnout was registered in Hosakote in Bengaluru Rural District where the ruling BJP fielded Congress defector M.T.B. Nagaraj, who declared a whopping Rs 1,223 crore worth of assets in his nomination affidavit.
Chikkaballapur, a rural constituency about 60km east of Bengaluru, recorded a whopping 86.40 per cent. Congress defector K. Sudhakar was the ruling party’s candidate in this prestigious seat.
Likewise, Hunasuru in Mysuru district registered 80.71 per cent. The BJP fielded Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) defector A.H. Vishwanath from this rural seat.
K.R. Pete in Mandya district recorded 80 per cent. BJP fielded JD-S defector K.C. Narayana Gowda from this rural segment.
Hirekerur in Haveri district recorded 78.63 per cent. The BJP fielded Congress defector B.C. Patil from this rural constituency.
Similarly, Yellapur in Uttar Kannada district registered 77.52 per cent. The BJP fielded Congress defector Shivaram Hebbar from this rural constituency.
Kagwad in Belagavi district had 76.27 per cent turnout, followed by Athani with 75.23 per cent, Ranibennur in Haveri district with 73.53 per cent and Gokak in Belagavi district, where Congress defector Ramesh Jarkiholi contested on the BJP ticket, 73.08 per cent polling.
As in the past, the four assembly segments in Bengaluru had poor turnout, with the lowest percentage of 43.25 in K.R. Pura in the east, followed by Shivajinagar in the city centre at 44.6, Mahalakshmi Layout in northwest at 50.92 and Yeshvanthpur in north with 54.13 per cent.
The BJP fielded Congress defector Byrathi Basavaraj in K.R. Pura, JD-S defector K. Gopalaiah in Mahalakshmi and Congress defector S.T. Somashekar in Yeshvanthpur.
Former corporator M. Sarvana is the BJP candidate in Shivajinagar.
Voting percentage in Vijayanagara in Ballari district was 64.95 per cent.
Barring glitches in the EVMs and voters names missing in the electoral list in some polling stations, voting was peaceful amid tight security.
There were also reports of voters boycotting the polls in some areas over various issues.
The Karnataka government on Thursday declared a holiday only in the constituencies going to bypolls.
In the light of the selective holiday, the Vidhan Souda, Vikas Soudha and all other departments went to work, but there was leeway for employees on electoral lists in the constituencies which went to the bypolls to avail a paid leave on Thursday.
Electors’ censure of defector candidates was a running theme in the by-elections.
A few voters in Bengaluru’s K.R. Puram constituency displayed banners appealing fellow voters to punish the contesting disqualified and defecting election candidates.
The 15 constituencies had nearly 38 lakh eligible voters – 19.25 lakh men and 18.52 lakh women.
As many as 165 candidates, including 126 Independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly seats, necessitated by the resignation – and subsequent disqualification – of 14 Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular rebel MLAs which led to the collapse of the then H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD-S coalition government.
However, bypolls are only being held in 15 seats, since there is ongoing litigation in the Karnataka High Court over the results of two seats — Muski (Raichur district) and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru) in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
The BJP and the opposition Congress contested in all the 15 Assembly seats, while the JD-S only in 12 seats.
The outcome of the bye-elections will decide the survival and continuation of the four-month-old BJP government in the southern state.
The ruling party, which has 105 members, including one independent but excluding the Speaker, needs to win seven more seats to have a majority in the 225-member Assembly, whose current strength is 223.
The Congress has 66 members, the JD-S 34 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one.