Voting is underway for by-election to Belgaum Lok Sabha and Maski and Basavakalyan assembly segments in Karnataka today, poll officials said. A total of 22,68,038 voters (including service voters) are eligible to cast their votes at 3,197 polling stations in the three constituencies where voting began at 7 am and will go on till 7 pm.
Among voters from all the three segments, over 11.37 lakh are men and over 11.22 lakh are women.
A total of 30 candidates are in the fray from all the three constituencies. While, Belgaum has 10 candidates, Basavakalyan and Maski have 12 and eight respectively.
Twenty-six out of the total 30 candidates are men. Among the four women include two from Basavakalyan and one each from Belgaum and Maski. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Bypolls are being held by following the strict COVID-19 protocols, especially social distancing, wearing masks, using hand sanitisers among others, officials said, adding the last hour is reserved for coronavirus positive patients or those with symptoms.
Bypolls to Belgaum Lok Sabha and Basavakalyan Assembly seats were necessitated following the death of Union Minister Suresh Angadi and MLA B Narayan Rao respectively due to COVID-19 in September last year.
Maski seat fell vacant following the disqualification of MLA Prathapagouda Patil who had won in 2018 as the Congress candidate and is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are battling it out in all three constituencies, while the JD(S) has limited itself only to Basavakalyan, as the regional party has not fielded any candidates in Maski and Belgaum.
The ruling BJP has fielded Mangala Suresh Angadi, the wife of late Suresh Angadi, from the Belgaum Lok Sabha seat.
Pratapagouda Patil, who quit Congress and joined the BJP is the saffron party's candidate from the Maski assembly segment, while youth leader Sharanu Salagar has been fielded in Basavakalyan.
BJP rebel and former MLA Mallikarjun Khuba is in the fray as an independent candidate from Basavakalyan.
The Congress has fielded its state working president Satish Jarkiholi, who is currently the MLA of Yamkanmaradi assembly segment, as its candidate from Belgaum.
Mallamma, the wife of late legislator B Narayan Rao, is the grand old party's candidate from Basavakalyan seat, while Basanagouda Turvihal, who recently joined the party, has been fielded in Maski segment.
JD(S) has named Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri, who was with the Congress earlier, as its candidate from Basavakalyan.