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Low polling in Karnataka Assembly by-polls

A voter turnout of only about 30% was reported till 1 pm in the by-polls to three Assembly constituencies in Karnataka today, where the ruling Congress and BJP are locked in a tussle for prestige.

Officials said, only about 30% voting was reported from the Chikkodi-Sadalga and Shikaripura and 38% in Bellary Rural, with the polling process being peaceful. The three constituencies have a total electorate of over 557,000. Today’s elections are a litmus test for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and BJP national Vice-President and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa as this is the first electoral showdown after the recent Lok Sabha polls.

After its humiliating defeat in the 2013 Assembly polls that saw the exit of BJP’s first-ever government in the South, it staged a comeback in Lok Sabha polls, winning 17 of the 28 seats, leaving only nine to Congress and two to JD-S.

The Congress has gone all out not only to retain Chikkodi-Sadalga but also wrest from the BJP Bellary Rural and Shikaripura seat, where Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is a candidate.

Yeddyurappa had vacated the Shikaripura seat after his election to the Lok Sabha from Shimoga, which Raghavendra had earlier represented.

JD-S, dogged by rumblings of discontent within over the leadership of its supremo Gowda and his son and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, has not fielded any candidates. Twenty two candidates were in the fray. Counting of votes will take place on August 25.

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