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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Karnataka bypolls: Counting of votes to take ‘double time’ as covid-19 norms are followed

According to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar, the counting that began at 8 am is expected to be completed only by 4 pm, with the process being split into two sessions.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 3, 2021 6:44:57 am
A municipal official, second right, reprimands street vendors for not wearing face masks properly during a lockdown in Bengaluru (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

As votes polled in Belgaum (Belagavi) Lok Sabha constituency and two Karnataka assembly constituencies — Basavakalyan and Maski ­— are counted on Sunday amid the ongoing 14-day lockdown in Karnataka, the process is expected to take “double the usual time”, election officials noted.

According to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar, the counting that began at 8 am is expected to be completed only by 4 pm, with the process being split into two sessions. “The entire place will be sanitised after the first session and a different set of staff will arrive to take over the next session. This is Election Commission (EC)’s way to ensure officials have minimal exposure outside,” Kumar explained.

As many as 23 counting halls have been set up across three constituencies with 17 of them at Belgaum (Belagavi) alone. Meanwhile, the assembly constituencies have been allocated three halls each for the same.

Earlier on April 17, as per final figures issued by EC, Belgaum witnessed a 56.02 per cent voter turnout while the same at Basavakalyan and Maski were at 61.58 per cent and 70.46 per cent respectively. However, most polls were recorded at Belgaum Lok Sabha constituency (10,16,025), followed by Maski (1,45,458), and Basavakalyan (1,47,647).

The Belgaum seat fell vacant after the death of former Union minister of state for Railways Suresh Angadi. The bypoll in Basavakalyan (Bidar) is being held to find a successor to Congress MLA B Narayan Rao. Both leaders succumbed to Covid-19 last September. Maski in Raichur has had no representation in the Assembly since former Congress MLA Pratapgouda Patil gravitated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In Belagavi, BJP’s Mangala Angadi, wife of former Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi is pitched against Congress’s Satish Jarkiholi, the sitting MLA of Yamkanmaradi.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Pratapgouda Patil gravitated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is the candidate for the latter party while Basanagouda Turvihal is his key rival from the Congress camp. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s son and BJP state vice president B Y Vijayendra’s poll strategy is also under the scanner in Maski.

At the same time, Basavakalyan is expected to witness a three-way battle with Congress candidate Mala B Narayana Rao, wife of former MLA late Narayana Rao fielded against BJP’s Sharanu Salgar and Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri of the JD (S).

While early trends are expected to take form by around 10 am, a clearer picture at each constituency is likely to be out by 12 noon.

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