The counting of votes in Karnataka's bye-polls for five constituencies will begin shortly. This will be a litmus test for the ruling JD(S) and Congress in Karnataka against the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The bye-elections were held on Saturday for two assembly seats (Jamkhandi and Ramanagara) and three Lok Sabha seats (Shimoga, Mandya and Bellary).
The JD(S) had contested from the Ramangara Assembly seat and Lok Sabha seats of Mandya and Shimoga, while the Congress contested from Jamkhandi Assembly segment and Bellary Lok Sabha constituency in the keenly contested bye-polls. Though BJP had fielded candidates in all the five bye-polls, its nominee, L Chandrasekhar from Ramanagara, resigned from the party and re-joined the Congress on November 1, making the announcement of Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of CM Kumaraswamy, a mere formality.
Interestingly, sons of three former state Chief Ministers are locked in a triangular contest from Shimoga in Malnad region. They are BY Raghavendra, son of BJP's state unit president BS Yeddyurappa, who was the party's first Chief Minister in the south from 2008-11; Madhu Bangarappa, younger son of late Congress Chief Minister S Bangarappa (1990-92); and Mahima Patel, son of late Janata Dal-United (JD-S) Chief Minister JH Patel (1996-99).
LR Shivarame Gowda of the JD(S) and R Siddaramaiah of the BJP are the candidates in Mandya. In Bellary, the Congress fielded its state legislative council member VS Ugrappa against BJP's Shantha as both belonging to the dominant Valmiki tribal community.