Bengaluru, May 18: Hectic campaigning for the May 19 by-elections in Karnataka‘s two Assembly segments ended on Friday evening, an official said.
“The 15-day campaign for the twin bye-elections concluded peacefully at 5:00 p.m. in Chincholi (SC) and Kundgol in the state’s north and northwest regions,” the poll official told IANS here.
As many as 25 candidates, including 4 women, are in the fray for the two by-polls.
There are 17 candidates in the Chincholi reserved seat in Kalaburagi district and eight in the Kundgol seat in Dharwad district.
Chincholi is 580 kms north of Bengaluru and Kundagol is 410 kms northwest of here.
Prominent candidates in Chincholi are Avinash Umesh Jadhav of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Subhash V Rathod of the Congress and Gautam Bomnalli of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Avinash is the son of Umesh Jadhav, whose resignation from the seat as a rebel Congress legislator necessitated the by-election.
Jadhav senior quit the Congress and joined the BJP in early March to contest from the Gulbarga (SC) parliamentary seat against Congress leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on April 23.
Besides the three main contestants, 11 independents, including two women, are in the race along with three others.
In the Kundgol contest, Kusumavati Channabasappa is contesting from the Congress against S.I. Chikkanagoudar of the BJP. The remaining six, including a woman, are independents.
The death of Congress Minister for Municipalities C.S. Shivalli on March 22 necessitated the by-poll. The Congress has fielded his widow Kusumavati to retain the seat on sympathy vote.
A three-time legislator, Chikkanagoudar lost to Shivalli by a narrow margin of 633 votes in the May 2018 Assembly election. He is also related to BJP‘s state unit President B.S. Yeddyurappa, who campaigned for him to wrest the seat from the Congress.
Congress legislative party leader and the southern state’s former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and party’s state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao campaigned for Kusumavati.
The vote count is on May 23 along with that of 28 Lok Sabha seats for which polling was held in two phases on April 18 and 23 after a hectic campaign.
In the 225-member state Assembly, including one nominated, the BJP has 104 seats, Congress 77, JD-S 37, two are vacant, one speaker and one each of BSP, Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) – a regional outfit, and an independent.