K'taka braces for biennial polls on Wednesday


Bengaluru, Oct 27 (IANS): Karnataka is gearing up to hold biennial elections in two Graduates' and 2 Teachers' constituencies for the state legislative council on Wednesday under the Covid-induced guidelines, an official said on Tuesday.

"Arrangements have been made to hold the biennial elections in the four council seats on Wednesday to fill the vacancies caused by the retirement of the members after their term lapsed on June 30," a poll official told IANS here.

Polling will be held from 8 am to 5 pm in the South-East Graduates', West Graduates', North-East Teachers' and Bangalore Teachers' constituencies in which 40 candidates from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Independents are in fray.

Counting of votes will take place on November 2.

Of the candidates, R. Chowda Reddy Thoopalli of the JD-S is re-contesting from South-East Graduates, S.V. Sankanur of the BJP is re-contesting from West Graduates, Sharanappa Mattur of the Congress is re-contesting from North-East Teachers and Puttanna of the BJP is re-contesting from the Bangalore Teachers constituency.

In the South-East Graduates' seat, 15 are contesting, including Chidanand Gowda of the BJP and Ramesh Babu of the Congress.

Two BJP rebels -- D.T. Srinivasa and Haraluru Lepakshi -- are also in the fray as Independents in the South-East Graduates constituency.

Babu, a former council member, recently joined the Congress from the JD-S after he failed to secure ticket for the bypolls.

In West Graduates' seat, 11 are in fray, including R.M. Kuberappa (Congress) and K.S. Channappa (JD-S).

The JD-S, however, has disowned Chennappa and is backing Independent Basavaraj Gurikar in the West Graduates constituency.

In North-East Teachers' seat, five are contesting, including Timmayya Purle (JD-S), Shashil Namoshi (BJP) and Vatal Nagaraj, president of the regional outfit Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha. Nagaraj is a former Assembly member from the Chamarajanagar segment in the state's southwest region.

Namoshi had won from the seat twice earlier.

In Bangalore Teachers' seat, 9 are in the fray, including R. Praveen Peter (Congress) and A.P. Ranganath (JD-S).

"In all, 2,34,718 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 549 polling booths for electing four from the 37 candidates at the hustings," the official said.

"Counting centres have been set up in Bengaluru, Dharwad and Kalaburagi for the Graduates and Teachers constituencies," said the official.

Campaign in all the four constituencies concluded on Monday as per the guidelines of the poll panel.

"Wearing of face mask, maintaining physical distance and washing hands with sanitiser are mandatory for voters and officials manning the polling booths," noted the official.

All voters will be thermally screened before entering the polling station.

Of the 75 seats in the council, 25 are elected from the assembly, 25 from local bodies across the state, 7 each from Graduates and Teachers constituencies and 11 are nominated by the state governor on the recommendation of the Chief Minister or the state cabinet.

In the 75-member council, the BJP has 28 seats, Congress 27, JD-S 14, one Independent and one Chairman, while four are vacant.

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