Modest voter turnout in K’taka by-polls till afternoon
Bengaluru: The voter turnout on three seats where by-polls are being held in Karnataka on Saturday was modest amid the Covid-19 scare till afternoon.
The voter turnout in Belgaum Lok Sabha seat was reported to be 35.55 per cent while in Basavakalyan and Maski Assembly segments it was reported to be 37.73 per cent and 52.56 per cent respectively, poll officials said.
Voting began with strict adherence to Covid protocols in all the three constituencies at 7 a.m. and will end at 7 p.m.
“The voters were seen wearing masks and maintaining social distance. So far, polling has been peaceful in all the three constituencies – Belgaum Lok Sabha, Maski Assembly seat in Raichuru and Basavakalyan in Bidar district,” the official stated.
In all, 30 candidates, including 10 in Belgaum, 12 in Basavakalyan and 8 in Maski (Reserved) are in the fray. Of them, 26 are men and four are women.
There are five Independents each in Belgaum and Maski and four in Basavakalyan.
Of the 22,59,778 voters in the three seats, 18,13,567 are in Belgaum, 2,39,782 in Basavakalyan and 2,06,429 in Maski. The votes will be counted on May 2.
By-polls to Belgaum Lok Sabha and Basavakalyan Assembly seats were necessitated following the death of Union Minister Suresh Angadi and MLA B. Narayan Rao respectively due to Covid-19 in September 2020.
The Maski assembly seat fell vacant following the disqualification of MLA Prathap Gouda Patil who is one among the 17 legislators who had defected from the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in 2019 and helped the BJP’s Yediyurappa come to power. Patil had won in 2018 on a Congress ticket and is now with the BJP.
The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are fighting it out in all the three constituencies, while the JD(S) has limited itself to Basavakalyan, as the regional party has not fielded any candidates in Maski and Belgaum.
The ruling BJP has fielded Mangala Suresh Angadi, widow of Suresh Angadi, from the Belgaum Lok Sabha seat and Sharanu Salagar from Basavakalyan.
The Congress has fielded its state working president Satish Jarkiholi, who is currently the MLA from the Yamkanmaradi assembly segment, as its candidate from Belgaum.
Mallamma, widow of B. Narayana Rao, is the Congress candidate from Basavakalyan while Basanagouda Turvihal, who recently joined the party has been fielded from Maski segment.
In Basavakalyan, Mallikarjun Khuba, a rebel leader formerly of the BJP, is also in the fray as an Independent candidate. The Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri.
BJP candidate Pratapgouda Patil in Maski tested Covid positive last Sunday and is likely to cast his vote in the last hour of polling which is reserved for Covid patients.