Karnataka bypolls: Voting in 15 seats vacated by Congress, JD(S) rebels underway; contest ego battle for Opposition, survival for BJP
Currently, the ruling BJP led by chief minister BS Yediyurappa enjoys a slim majority in the Karnataka Assembly and has the support of 106 MLAs in the 224-member House, while the Congress-JDS Opposition has the support of 101 MLAs.
After the resignations of the dissident legislators, the Congress and JDS coalition government in the state which lasted for 14 months, have parted ways after the collapse of the Kumaraswamy ministry.
However, the Congress on Sunday indicated it was not averse to joining hands with JD(S) once again.
But JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda's contradictory statement on the issue indicate that the regional party has not quite made up its mind.
Voting in 15 of the 17 Karnataka seats that fell vacant after rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs were disqualified by the Speaker for violating their party whip and allowing rival BJP to prop up its government, is underway on Thursday (5 December).
The polling that began at 7 am is scheduled to conclude at 6 pm, the results of which will be declared on 9 December. People were seen standing in queues to cast their votes at various polling booths in different parts of the state. After the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, which lasted for 14 months, the two allies have parted ways and are contesting the bypolls independently.
However, the Congress on Sunday indicated it was not averse to joining hands with JD(S) once again, in case the ruling BJP fails to garner required number of seats to be in majority. But JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda's contradictory statement on the issue indicate that the regional party has not quite made up its mind.
Currently, the BJP government led by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa enjoys a slim majority in the Karnataka Assembly and has the support of 106 MLAs in the 224-member House, while the Congress-JDS Opposition has the support of 101 MLAs. This means the ruling party will need to win at least six of the 15 seats being contested to retain its majority.
Of 15 constituencies going to the bypolls, 12 were held by the Congress and three by the JD(S).
BJP has rewarded the Congress, JD(S) rebels by fielding 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who joined the party as its candidates from their respective constituencies.
A total of 37,77,970 electors are eligible to cast their votes at 4,185 polling stations in fifteen constituencies going for polls. There are also 4,711 service voters. Among the eligible electors 19,25,529 are men, 18,52,027 women and 414 others. A total of 79,714 are young voters.
Before the polling in 15 constituencies begin tomorrow, take a look at some of the facts:
Date of polling: 5 December, Thursday
Bypoll result date: 9 December, Monday
Constituencies in which bypolls will be held: Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chikkaballapura, KR Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, KR Pete, Hunsur.
Total number of candidates contesting: 165, including 126 Independents and nine women
Major political parties: Among the major political parties in the state, while the BJP and the Congress have 15 candidates each in the fray, the number of JD(S) candidates is 12, while the remaining are from smaller parties and independents.
Most of the constituencies going for the by polls are facing a direct contest between Congress and BJP but in the southern parts of the state, the JD(S) comes into the picture, making it a triangular fight.
Security deployed: The Election Commission and police have made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the bypolls in all the 15 constituencies. Out of total 42,509 personnel deployed for election management, 19,299 are polling personnel.
As many as 11,241 personnel from state police and 2,511 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed on security duty. Polling officials said 884 polling stations have been marked critical and 414 stations will be manned by CAPF.
With inputs from PTI
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