Bangalore : About ten percent of over one million eligible voters Tuesday exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling in five assembly by-elections in Karnataka.
The outcome of the by-polls will impact the standing of central minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his predecessor.
“Voting is underway in Govindarajnagar, Ramanagara, Kollegal, Channapatna and Chittapur. Around 10 percent had cast votes by 11 a.m.,” a spokesperson of state election authorities said.
Central Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge is trying his electoral luck for the first time from Chittapur, a seat that was won by his father in the May 2008 assembly polls. The senior Kharge vacated the seat on his election to the Lok Sabha in the general elections this April-May.
For chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa ensuring victory of the two BJP candidates fighting from Govindrajnagar in western Bangalore and Channapatna, about 60 km from here, has become a prestige issue as they have defected from the Congress and been given tickets.
V. Somanna, contesting from Govindrajnagar, has been made a minister for resigning the seat he won on a Congress ticket in the 2008 polls to join BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is helping the Congress in Govindrajnagar after the nomination of its candidate was rejected. JD-S president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda has even canvassed for Congress candidate Priya Krishna, who is contesting for the first time.
C.P. Yogeshwar vacated the Channapatna assembly seat he won as a Congress candidate to join the BJP and contest the Lok Sabha poll from Ramanagara against Yeddyurappa’s predecessor H.D. Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal-Secular. Yogeshwar lost and is seeking election to the assembly again.
Ensuring the JD-S candidate’s victory in Ramanagara has become imperative for Kumaraswamy, who quit the seat to enter Lok Sabha. The constituency is considered a JD-S stronghold.
While the Ramanagara assembly seat was held by JD-S, the other four were with the Congress. BJP is trying to get a foothold in these opposition strongholds.
Counting is on Aug 21.