Polling underway for bypoll to 2 key assembly constituencies in Karnataka

A fierce campaign was witnessed in the two constituencies -- Kundgol and Chincholi - both held by Congress.

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Voting for Kundgol and Chincholi bypolls is underway

In key by-elections, polling in two assembly constituencies in Karnataka is being held on Sunday with the outcome likely to have a bearing on the stability of the JDS-Congress government in the state.

A fierce campaign was witnessed in the two constituencies -- Kundgol and Chincholi, both held by Congress.

By-poll to Chincholi has been necessitated by the resignation of Umesh Jadhav, who quit Congress and joined the BJP to contest the recent Lok Sabha polls from Gulbarga, while Kundgol seat fell vacant following the death of Minister C S Shivalli.

There are a total of 17 candidates in the fray in Chincholi and eight in Kundgol segments. The main contest will be between the nominees of the Congress (supported by the JDS), and the BJP.

The Congress candidates are Subash Rathod in Chincholi and Kusumavathi, wife of Shivalli, in Kundgol.

BJP has fielded SI Chikkanagowdar and Umesh Jadhav's son Avinash Jadhav from the Kundgol and the Chincholi assembly seats respectively.

There are a total of 1,93,869 voters in Chincholi while 1,89,444 voters in Kundgol, officials said.

Congress is determined to retain both the seats while the BJP has been claiming its tally in the assembly will increase from 104 to 106.

BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa has claimed the support of three independent and small party MLAs after the polls and said "any kind of political alterations" may happen after that. "So we have asked for cooperation and I'm confident that the people will definitely support us (in the bypoll)," he said.

In the 224-member assembly with two vacancies and excluding the Speaker, the BJP has 104 MLAs, Congress-77, JD(S)-37, BSP (1), independent (1) (both currently supporting the ruling alliance), one KPJP

There have been speculations about possible change of guard in the state after the results of the Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls on May 23.

Coalition leaders airing differences publicly and growing clamour within the Congress for its veteran Siddaramaiah to become Chief Minister once again have added fuel to the fire.

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