Prime News, Karnataka, Bengaluru, November 3:- Voting for the by-polls to the three Lok Sabha and two Assembly Constituencies in Karnataka began on Saturday, which is seen as a litmus test for the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition.
By-polls to Shivamogga, Mandya and Ballari Lok Sabha seats, and Ramanagara and Jamkhandi Assembly segments began at 7 am and will go on till 6 pm.
A total of 54,54,275 voters are eligible to cast their franchise in about 6,450 polling stations.
There are a total 31 candidates in the fray in all the five constituencies, though the contest is mainly between the Congress-JD(S) combine and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Counting of votes will be held on Tuesday.
Officials at the state chief electoral officer’s office said a total of 1,502 polling stations had been declared as sensitive.
More than 35,000 polling personnel will be on duty for the by-polls, in which 8,922 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used, they added.
Senior police officials said elaborate security arrangements had been made in all the five constituencies.
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), who came together in a post-poll alliance after the Assembly elections in May threw up a hung House, have decided to fight the polls unitedly against the BJP.
Among the prominent candidates in the fray is Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s wife, Anitha Kumaraswamy, who is expected to have a smooth sail in Ramanagara after BJP nominee L Chandrashekhar withdrew from the contest and rejoined the Congress. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)