Bengaluru, May 2 (PTI): Counting is underway for the bypolls to one Lok Sabha seat and two Assembly segments.
The voting took place for Belgaum Lok Sabha, and Maski and Basavakalyan Assembly constituencies on April 17.
There were 30 candidates in the fray -- 10 in Belgaum, 12 in Basavakalyan and eight in Maski.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, the counting started at 8 AM under tight vigil.
Policemen were deployed to ensure COVID-19 protocol is strictly followed and no law and order situation arises.
The police have banned political processions or celebrations in groups in view of the rising virus cases.
According to officials, the counting for Belgaum LS bypoll is taking place at Rani Parvati Devi College in Tilakwadi of Belagavi, SRPS PU College at Raichur for Maski Assembly segment and B Y Bhoomaraddi College in Bidar for the Basavakalyan constituency.
The Election Commission has made it mandatory for the returning officers, counting agents, poll personnel, policemen and journalists in the counting centres to have a negative RT-PCR report to ensure no one contracts COVID-19.
The Commission has also banned congregation of party workers outside the counting centres.
The bypolls to Belgaum and Basavakalyan took place following the death of sitting public representatives Suresh Angadi (BJP) and B Narayan Rao (Congress) due to COVID, while Maski seat fell vacant due to the disqualification of Congress MLA Prathapagouda Patil.
Patil was among Congress MLAs who had resigned from the Assembly in 2019, was disqualified and later joined the BJP later to contest the bypoll on the party ticket.
The contest in Belgaum and Maski is mainly between Congress and the BJP.
In Belgaum, the BJP has fielded Suresh Angadi's widow Mangala Suresh Angadi against Congress Karnataka working president Satish Jarkiholi, the Yamkanmardi MLA.
In Maski, BJP's Pratapagouda Patil was in a direct fight against Basanagouda Turvihal of Congress.
JD(S) contested only in Basavakalyan, fielding Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri while the Congress nominee was Rao's wife Mallamma and Sharanu Salagar was chosen by the BJP.
The victory or defeat would not have any bearing on the stability of the BJP government which has a majority of 118 seats, excluding Speaker's, in the House of 224 members.
A win would, however, increase Yediyurappa's hold on the party as well as the government, and silence his critics within the party, who want him removed. PTI COR GMS NVG NVG