Total 15 constituencies in Karnataka are going to vote on Thursday in the by-poll elections which are going to prove crucial for the existence of the four-month-old Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government. The results will be declared on Monday, December 9.

According to the Election Commission of India, the voter turnout is estimated at 17.60% as of 11 am in the state. The by-elections will be held between 7 am and 6 pm where over 38 lakh voters will participate.

The seats fell vacant after the political drama took place four months ago where 17 rebel MLAs from the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular)  parties defected to BJP in a bid to bring down the coalition government. The MLAs were subsequently disqualified from the House but allowed the contest today’s polls.

Elections to two seats, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Maski, are not being held today as separate election petitions challenging the results of the 2018 elections are pending in the Karnataka High Court. In 13 of the 15 seats, the BJP has fielded Congress-JD(S) turncoats. The ruling party needs to win at least six of the 15 seats, or seven out of 17, to retain its majority.

The BJP needs to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in majority in the 225-member assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote), which would still have two vacant seats — Maski and R R Nagar.

A total of 37,77,970 electors are eligible to cast their votes at 4,185 polling stations in 15 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. A total number of 165 candidates are in the fray for bypolls from all the 15 constituencies, out of them 156 are men and 9 are women. Among the major political parties in the state, BJP and Congress have 15 candidates each in the fray, while a number of JD(S) candidates is 12, and remaining are from smaller parties and independents.

Out of 15 assembly segments going to by-polls, 12 were held by Congress and three by JD(S). BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who had joined the party, as its candidates from their respective constituencies from where they had won in the 2018 assembly elections on Congress and JD(S) tickets.