Counting of votes began on Tuesday in five bye-elections held on November 3 to fill the vacancies in three Lok Sabha and two assembly segments in Karnataka, a poll official said.

The counting of votes began at 8.00 a.m. in all the seats.

Bypolls for the three Lok Sabha constituencies – Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya; and two Assembly constituencies – Ramanagara and Jamkhandi are seen as a prestigious popularity test for the ruling Congress-JDS coalition.

According to Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar, a total of 1,248 officials, including supervisors, staff and micro observers were deployed at the counting centres.

Vote count was underway at engineering and government colleges taken up as counting centres. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure to that no untoward incident takes place during the counting of votes, police officials said.

Around 66 per cent of the 54.5 lakh electorate voted in the five by-elections.

A record 77.17 per cent polling was registered in Jamakhandi, followed by 71.88 per cent in Ramanagara, 63.85 per cent in Bellary (reserved), 61.05 per cent in Shimoga and 53.93 per cent in Mandya.

In all, 31 candidates were in the fray, including five from the Bharatiya Janata Party, three from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and two from Congress, while the remaining are Independents.

Prominent among the candidates in the fray were Anitha, wife of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy from JD-S, B. Shantha sister of BJP legislator B. Sriramulu from Bellary (reserved), and B.Y. Raghavendra, son of BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa from Shimoga.

Anita Kumaraswamy is expected to have a smooth sailing in Ramanagara, after BJP nominee L Chandrashekhar withdrew from the contest and rejoined the Congress.

In Jamkhandi, it remains to be seen whether the Congress’ Anand Nyamagowda will be able to make a successful electoral debut, riding on sympathy wave following the death of his father Siddu Nyamagouda.

In Shivamogga, former chief minister Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is testing his fortunes against another ex-chief minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S).

Janata Parivar veteran and former chief minister J H Patel’s son Mahima J Patel is also in the fray as a JD(U) candidate. In Ballari, senior BJP leader Sriramulu’s sister J Shantha is fighting against V S Ugrappa of the Congress.

In the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya, JD(S)’s Shivarame Gowda is pitted against a fresh face — Dr Siddaramaiah, a retired commercial tax officer, of the BJP.

The byelections were necessitated after Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga), Sriramalu (Ballari), and C S Puttaraju of JD(S) (Mandya) resigned as MPs following their election to the Karnataka Assembly.

Bypolls to Jamkhandi Assembly seat was necessitated due to the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, while Ramanagara fell vacant after Kumaraswamy gave up the seat, preferring Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had also won.


(With inputs from agencies)