Karnataka bye-polls: Record turnout in Gundlupet and Nanjangud

There was 80% turnout in Gundlupet and 76% in Nanjangud.
Karnataka bye-polls: Record turnout in Gundlupet and Nanjangud
Karnataka bye-polls: Record turnout in Gundlupet and Nanjangud
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The BJP and the Congress had brought out their big guns during the Nanjangud and Gundlupet constituencies for the last two weeks and it seems to have worked. 

Both constituencies witnessed high voter turnout as an estimated 76% and 78% of people cast their votes on Sunday in Mysuru district’s Nanjangud and Gundlupet assembly constituencies respectively.

“This was the voter turnout in both constituencies at around 7pm yesterday. The turnout was very good and the elections were peaceful,” said Karnataka Chief Election Officer, Anil Kumar Jha.

Along with police and home guard personnel, Karnataka State Reserve Police, District Armed Reserve and Central Armed Police Force units or platoons had been deployed for the bye-polls, officials said.

The bye-poll in Nanjangud was held after V Srinivas Prasad resigned from his MLA post in December 2016. The veteran leader was miffed after being dropped from Siddaramaiah’s cabinet and resigned from his post before defecting to the BJP.

In Gundlupet, the sudden death of Cooperation Minister Mahadev Prasad, left the seat vacant, which necessitated the bye-poll. 

The voting percentage in the 2013 assembly election was 77.59% in Nanjangud and 87.05% in Gundlupet. The counting of votes will begin on April 13.

Polling activity was fast-paced in areas with Dalit and Lingayat majorities. The Congress candidate from Gundlupet, the late Mahadev Prasad’s wife, Geeta Mahadev Prasad and the grand old party’s candidate from Nanjangud, Kalale Keshavamurthy cast their votes in their respective villages. 

BJP candidate for Nanjangud, V Srinivas Prasad toured the booths. For the first time in Karnataka, new vote-verifiable paper audit trail was introduced for the bye-polls and no major complaints were received from any voting booths, Jha said. 

A 94-year-old woman died at her home on return from a pooling booth after casting her vote at Hangala village in the Nanjangud segment, said police.
In another incident, about 700 voters boycotted polling in protest against lack of basic amenities in their village (Mahadevanagara) in Nanjangud.

The contest between the BJP and Congress for these bye-polls has been intense as it has the ability to swing voter behaviour during the 2018 Assembly elections. BJP state President BS Yeddyurappa has been campaigning in both places since the past 25 days, while the Congress has roped in all its ministers to campaign for about 10 days. 

This bye-poll has the potential to swing Dalit votes to the BJP’s favour with its candidate V Srinivas Prasad, who is a popular Dalit leader, having won five MLA elections from Chamarajanagara and two from Nanjangud. 

Both Nanjangud and Gundlupet are bastions of the Congress and if the BJP manages to win, it would be a major breakthrough for the saffron party. 

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