31 in fray for Nov 3 twin bypolls in Karnataka

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31 in fray for Nov 3 twin bypolls in Karnataka

Bengaluru: With the withdrawal of six candidates, 31 contestants are in the fray for the twin Assembly by-elections in Karnataka on November 3, including 16 in the high-profile Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) in Bengaluru and 15 in Sira in Tumakuru district, an official said on Tuesday.

“Four Independents in RR Nagar and 2 Independents in Sira withdrew their nominations on Monday, the last day of withdrawal for the November 3 by-elections in the state, leaving 16 candidates in RR Nagar and 15 in Sira,” a poll official told IANS here.

The counting of votes will take place on November 10.

With the ruling BJP, opposition Congress and regional outfit Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) fielding their candidates, the by-elections are set to witness a triangular contest in both the seats.

RR Nagar is in Bengaluru southwest suburb and Sira is about 120 km northwest of the tech hub.

Munirathna and Rajesh Gowda are the BJP candidates in RR Nagar and Sira, respectively, while Kusuma H and T.B. Jayachandra are the Congress candidates from these two seats, respectively. V. Krishna Murthy and Ammajamma are the contestants from the JD-S in the respective constituencies.

All the candidates of the mainstream parties are Vokkaligas, a politically dominant community in the state, especially in the old Mysuru region.

The by-elections have been necessitated by the resignation of Munirathna, a Congress defector to the BJP in 2019 from RR Nagar, and the death of JD-S legislator B. Satyanarayana from Sira on August 5 after prolonged illness.

Kusuma, 31, the widow of former IAS officer D.K. Ravi, joined the Congress on October 4 with a view to contest the by-elections. Her father Hanumantharayappa is a former Congress council member from RR Nagar zone.

Ravi, 35, a 2009 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer, committed suicide in the city on March 16, 2015 for “personal reasons”.

According to the poll panel, a total of 6.76 lakh electorate, including about 7,000 first-timers, are eligible to vote in the byelections.

RR Nagar has 4.6 lakh voters, including 2.4 lakh men and 2.2 lakh women, while Sira has 2.15 lakh voters, with 1.10 lakh men and 1.05 lakh women voters.

As per the guidelines issued by the poll panel, political parties and Independents in the fray should follow all Covid measures during their rallies and meetings.

Groups of only five persons, including the candidate, will be allowed for door-to-door campaigning and their convoy should be broken after five vehicles for roadshows.

Polling officials will be given a kit comprising mask, face shield, sanitiser and gloves.

“Bedsides those infected or undergoing quarantine, persons with disabilities and above 80 years will be allowed to vote through postal ballot,” said the official.

Of the 1,008 polling stations, 678 are in RR Nagar and 330 in Sira.

In all, 2,034 electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used with voter-verified audit trail (VVPAT) systems for polling in both the Assembly segments.

“Voters will be screened thermally before they enter the polling booth to ensure they are virus free,” the official said.

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