Voting for bye-polls to two Assembly seats - Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira - in Karnataka commenced on Tuesday morning amid tight security and COVID-19 induced guidelines. Voting began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.
At 11 am, the turnout in RR Nagar was reported as 14.4% while the voter turnout in Sira was 23.63% The electoral fortune of 31 candidates including four women, will be decided by the estimated 6.76-lakh electorate, including 7,000 first-time voters.
Of the four women candidates, Congress has fielded political novice, H Kusuma, widow of former IAS officer, D.K. Ravi and Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded Ammajamma, widow of B Sathyanarayana in Sira in Tumakuru. The Sira bye-poll was necessitated after the death of B. Satyanarayana on August 5 after prolonged illness.
The Congress has nominated its former minister TB Jayachandra, who lost to Satyanarayana in the May 2018 assembly elections, while Rajesh Gowda is the BJP contestant.
The RR Nagar polls were enforced after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate N Muniratna resigned in July 2019 as a Congress legislator.
A two-time lawmaker, Muniratna defected to the ruling party in November 2019 after the Supreme Court allowed him to recontest from RR Nagar though he was disqualified for defying the party whip.
The BJP has chosen to field Muniratna while the JD(S) has nominated V Krishna Murthy as its candidate for a triangular contest though there are a dozen independents in the fray.
The voters will exercise their franchise at the 1,008 polling stations, 678 are in RR Nagar and 330 in Sira. Of the two seats, Congress had won RR Nagar and Janata Dal (S) had won Sira, in Tumakuru in 2018 assembly polls.