Prestigious bypoll battles in Karnataka today

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Bangalore, Aug 21: By-polling in Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seats began on Wednesday morning. Overt thirty-six lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise at the end of a bitterly fought battle between the ruling Congress and JD(S). The results will be declared on August 24.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has played for high stakes in the polls that was marked by a no-holds barred attack by leaders of Congress and JD(S), which has the backing of BJP for both the seats.

Lok Sabha bypolls in Karnataka today

[Read: Delhi too far? H D Kumaraswamy had just 32% attendance in Lok Sabha]

The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of N Cheluvarayaswamy (Mandya) and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy (Bangalore Rural) who quit after being elected to the Assembly in May.

JD(S) of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda has fielded Kumaraswamy's wife Anita from Bangalore Rural, and C S Puttaraju in Mandya. Leading Kannada actor Ramya is Congress candidate from Mandya and D K Suresh, brother of senior Congress leader and MLA D K Shivakumar from Bangalore Rural.

Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said about sixty teams of surveillance and flying squads would be deployed for the by-elections.

The polling began at 8 am and will end at 5 pm.

He said about 36.37 lakh voters in both parliamentary constituencies were expected to vote in 4,360 polling booths.

Jha said there would be a ban on exit poll on the date of poll. Any analysis in the preceding 48 hours is an offence under the Representation of People's Act, he added.

The Gowda belt of Mandya is a stronghold of JD(S), which won five of the eight Assembly seats in the district in the May elections.

In Bangalore Rural, where Kumaraswamy had won by 1.3 lakh votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has secured the support of Samajwadi Party MLA, C P Yogeeshwara, who who reigned supreme in Channapa Assembly segment defeating Anita in May.


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