Votes polled in the byelections on April 17, amid COVID-19 pandemic, in the two Legislative Assembly constituencies of Maski and Basavakalyan and the parliamentary constituency of Belagavi will be counted on Sunday.
Though early trends would be available by around 10 a.m., a clear picture of the votes polled for each candidate would be known by 12 noon.
Results of the bypolls are of importance to the ruling BJP, though it currently enjoys a comfortable position in the Assembly and Parliament. Victory in both the Assembly constituencies would boost the morale of the party cadre and strengthen the hands of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, whose leadership has been challenged by a section of legislators in the BJP. The ruling party has also been facing criticism for its handling of the pandemic.
The bypoll results would test the popularity of KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar too. The party has not yet registered a victory in the Assembly byelections after he became the president. Retaining both the constituencies that the party won in 2018 would help Mr. Shivakumar consolidate his position in the party.
For the JD(S), positive results would help show its signs of recovery. The elections results would set the tone for the upcoming elections to zilla panchayats and taluk panchayats in the State.
While Maski in Raichur district recorded the highest turnout of 70.48% as against 68.98% in 2018, Basavakalyan constituency in Bidar witnessed 59.57% polling as against 64.85% in 2018. The turnout in the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency was very low at 54.62% as against 67.21% in the 2019 general elections.
In Belagavi, KPCC working president and MLA Satish Jarkiholi is locked in a battle against BJP’s Mangala, wife of the former Union Minister late Suresh Angadi, who succumbed to COVID-19.
In the reserved Maski constituency, BJP candidate and then disqualified MLA Pratapgouda Patil is pitted against Congress nominee Basanagouda Turvihal. Stakes are also high for the Chief Minister’ son B.Y. Vijayendra, who had strategised the campaign in Maski.
In a multicornered contest in Basavakalyan, Congress candidate Mala B. Narayana Rao, wife of the former MLA late Narayana Rao, is pitted against BJP’s Sharanu Salgar. Independent candidate Mallikarjun Kubha, who was expelled from the BJP, is also in the fray. JD(S) has fielded Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri.
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