The Election Commission of India (ECI) Tuesday announced bye-elections to two of the four vacant assembly constituencies in Karnataka — Sira (Tumkur) and Rajarajeshwari Nagar (Bengaluru).
As per the tentative schedule issued by the EC, voting will be held on November 3 with the results expected on November 10. While the official gazette notification to conduct the polls will be issued on October 9, the last date to submit nominations will be October 16.
— Ralph Alex Arakal (@ralpharakal) September 29, 2020
The legislative assembly seat in Sira fell vacant following the death of the Janata Dal (Secular) legislator B Sathyanarayana on August 5. R R Nagar had no representation in the Assembly since July 2019 after incumbent MLA N Munirathna defected to the BJP from the Congress. The constituency, along with Maski (Raichur) were not included among the bypolls held to 15 constituencies in December last year, as petitions challenging the results of the 2018 elections were then pending in Karnataka High Court.
Munirathna was promised candidature from the seat in a BJP ticket for his role in staying away from the assembly with 16 other former Congress-JD(S) MLAs leading to the coalition government’s collapse in the state. However, BJP leaders are in a fix as Tulasi Muniraju Gowda, the party’s candidate who lost to Munirathna in 2018, is pressing for the seat instead.
According to party sources, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had met BJP’s national brass during his visit to Delhi earlier this month. “The party is working towards ensuring synergy between the camps of the senior leaders in RR Nagar to ensure a smooth victory. With the hard work of our grassroot-workers to win more seats, the government will complete the term without much ado,” a local BJP leader in Bengaluru told indianexpress.com.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Election Commission (KSEC) has issued standard operating procedures (SOP) to conduct bye-elections in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While candidates (who are Covid-19 negative) only will be allowed to undertake house-to-house campaigning with a maximum of five supporters, wearing facemasks and maintaining social distance has been made mandatory. Arrangements will be made only for a maximum of 1,000 voters per station in place of the usual 1,400.
At present, BJP enjoys a clear majority in the 224-member House with 120 seats to themselves (BJP – 117 and Independents – 3). On the other side, Congress has 67 seats, while their former coalition partner JD(S) has 33. The two other vacant seats in the Assembly to which elections are yet to be announced are Maski and Basavakalyan (Bidar). The legislator representing the latter, B Narayan Rao (Congress) had succumbed to Covid-19 on September 24.
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