Voting for the bypolls to the three Lok Sabha and two assembly constituencies in Karnataka began on Saturday. The bypolls are a crucial test for the ruling Congress-JD(S) combine as they face their first major political test since forging an alliance five months ago. The polls are significant as the coalition partners have termed it as a “prelude” to the 2019 General Elections and called for a similar “grand secular alliance” against the BJP at the national level. BJP which has been questioning the longevity of the coalition government in Karnataka has predicted its fall once the bypoll results are out.
Polling for the three Lok Sabha seats — Ballari, Shivamogga and Mandya — and two Assembly segments — Ramanagara and Jamkhandi — will conclude 6 pm Saturday, with a total of 54,54,275 voters eligible to cast their franchise in about 6,450 polling stations. There are 31 candidates in the fray in all the five constituencies, though the contest is mainly between the Congress-JDS combine and the BJP.