Bengaluru: The Raja Rajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) constituency—a suburban locality in Bengaluru—which went to the polls on Monday saw a voter turnout of around 54% till the end of polling, according to latest data provided by the election authorities in Karnataka, compared to 56.82 % recorded in 2013.
The polling percentage is lower than the Bengaluru Urban’s average of 54.72% as recorded by the election authorities on 12 May, when 222 constituencies of the state went to the polls.
The election in this constituency was postponed after raids by the department led to the unearthing of around 10,000 Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) cards and thousands of form 6 documents were recovered from a private apartment in the locality a few days before the 12 May Karnataka assembly polls.
Following the directions of the Election Commission, police investigated the matter and registered a case against many people including the Congress candidate Munirathna. The office of the chief electoral officer stated in a press release that all the EPICs seized have been returned to the owners.
Besides, Munirathna, others from prominent political parties in the fray are BJP’s Muniraju Gowda and Janata Dal (Secular ) candidate G. H. Ramachandra. There are 11 others contesting in the by-election. The constituency has 4.71 lakh voters including 2.25 lakh women. There are 421 polling stations in the constituency.
The election in Jayanagar was countermanded after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and sitting legislator, B.N.Vijayakumar passed away while on campaign trail.
The elections in RR Nagar assumes significance as it can tip the scales in favour of the BJP, who emerged as the single largest party in the assembly elections with 104 seats out of the 222 that went to the polls earlier this month. The party fell short by at least eight seats to get the revised simple majority of 112 seats. The assembly results also saw the JD (S) which got 38 seats along with it pre-poll ally, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress, with 78 seats, join hands to deny the BJP a chance to rule.
Despite being the bigger partner, the Congress gave up the chief minister post to JD (S) and H.D.Kumaraswamy proved his majority on Friday amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach some of the legislators and destabilise the coalition partners.
The Congress and JD (S) had successfully thwarted any alleged attempts to poach by bundling up its legislators in hotels and resorts for over a week.
The BJP is hoping to salvage some of its lost pride in trying to get a win over the opposition in RR Nagar. However, the polls saw yet another controversy on Sunday night as Bengaluru Rural member of Parliament, D.K.Suresh addressed a press conference alleging that the BJP was spreading misinformation about the Congress candidate. Suresh said that the BJP were trying to spread misinformation that IT raids, conducted around 3pm in the constituency, had unearthed large amounts of cash purportedly meant for distribution to the voters. The BJP hit back stating that it would file a complaint with election authorities that Suresh violated poll code by holding a press conference the night before the polls.
After the 12 May assembly elections, the equations have changed dramatically with political rivals Congress and JD(S) becoming coalition partners in the government. However, senior leaders of both the parties held roadshows seeking votes for their respective candidates. BJP too put in all its efforts to ensure the victory of their candidate Muniraju Gowda.
Ten companies of CASF and 10 platoons of KSRP have been deployed to ensure free and fair poll, police said.
Apart from this, Ramanagaram, which has become vacant after chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy vacated this seat will also head to the polls shortly.
Former union minister and newly elected Congress legislator from Jamkhandi, Siddu Nyamagouda, died in a road accident near Bagalkot district on Monday and this seat is also expected to go to the polls at a later date.
—PTI contributed to this story