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75.8% average polling in Karnataka’s twin Assembly by-polls

An average of 75.8 per cent polling was registered in the by-elections for Karnataka’s two Assembly segments – Chincholi and Kundgol – after 11 hours of polling at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, a poll official said.

“Around 70.30 per cent was recorded in Chincholi and 81.33 per cent in Kundgol after all the voters who were still in queue even after 6:00 p.m. cast their ballots in the EVMs,” senior poll official A. Surya Sen told IANS here.

The vote count is on May 23.

“Though voting was slow in the first four hours, it picked up later despite a hot day in peak summer. Barring a few complaints of glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), polling was by and large peaceful in both seats,” Sen said.

Chincholi in the state’s northern Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) district is 580 kms from Bengaluru and Kundgol is in the state’s northwest Dharwad district, about 410 kms from here.

Of the total 3.83 lakh electorate, 1,93,869 are in Chincholi and 1,89,313 in Kundgol.

As many as 25 candidates, including four women, contested the twin by-polls with 17 in Chincholi and eight in Kundgol.

Prominent candidates in Chincholi are Avinash Umesh Jadhav of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Subhash V. Rathod of the Congress and Gautam Bomnalli of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Avinash is the son of former Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav whose resignation from the seat necessitated the by-election.

Jadhav senior quit the Congress and joined the BJP in early March to contest from the Gulbarga (SC) parliamentary seat against Congress leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on April 23.

In Kundgol, Congress candidate Kusumavati Channabasappa is pitted against S.I. Chikkanagoudar of the BJP. The remaining six, including a woman, are independent candidates.

The death of Congress Minister for Municipalities C.S. Shivalli on March 22 necessitated the Kundgol by-poll.

The Congress has fielded his widow Kusumavati to retain the seat on a sympathy vote.

Three-time legislator Chikkanagoudar lost to Shivalli by a narrow margin of 633 votes in the May, 2018 Assembly election.

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