An estimated 3.83-lakh electorate are enrolled to vote in Karnataka's two Assembly segments in a crucial by-election on Sunday, a poll official said on Saturday.
"Arrangements have been made to hold a free and fair by-election in Chincholi and Kundgol Assembly seats in the state's north and northwest regions on Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. under tight security," the official told IANS here.
Of the total electorate, 1,93,869 are in Chincholi and 1,89,313 in Kundgol to exercise their franchise at the hustings.
As many as 25 candidates, including four women are in the fray for the twin by-elections.
There are 17 candidates in the Chincholi reserved seat in Kalaburagi district and eight in the Kundgol seat in Dharwad district.
Chincholi is 580 kms north of Bengaluru and Kundagol is 410 kms northwest of here.
"We have set up 241 polling booths with 671 ballot units, 427 controlling units and 536 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) in Chincholi segment, and 214 booths, with 380 ballot units, 268 controlling units and 380 VVPATs in Kundgol segment," the official said.
Of the total booths, 60 have been declared critical in Chincholi and 25 in Kundgol.
"A total of 1,016 polling and police personnel have been deployed to conduct the by-election in both the seats under tight vigil and security," added the official.
Prominent candidates for 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 Umesh Jadhav, whose resignation from the seat as a rebel Congress legislator 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.
Besides the three main contestants, 11 independents, including two women, are in the race along with three others.
In the Kundgol contest, Kusumavati Channabasappa is contesting from the Congress against S.I. Chikkanagoudar of the BJP. The remaining six, including a woman, are independents.
The death of Congress Minister for Municipalities C.S. Shivalli on March 22 necessitated the by-poll. The Congress has fielded his widow Kusumavati to retain the seat on a sympathy vote.
A three-time legislator, Chikkanagoudar lost to Shivalli by a narrow margin of 633 votes in the May, 2018 Assembly election.
The vote count is on May 23 along with that of 28 Lok Sabha seats for which polling was held in two phases on April 18 and April 23 after a hectic campaign.
In the 225-member state Assembly, including one nominated, the BJP has 104 seats, Congress 77, JD-S 37, two are vacant, one speaker and one each of BSP, Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) - a regional outfit, and an independent.
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