Bellary (Karnataka): Just before casting his vote, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B Sriramulu was seen performing ‘gau puja’ (cow worship).
He is contesting against incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah from Badami constituency.
Badami, a tourist town in Bagalkot district in northern Karnataka is renowned for its cave temples.
Siddaramaiah is contesting from this constituency and holds prominence here as it is dominated by the Kuruba community, a shepherd community to which the chief minister belongs.
Winning the Badami and Chamundeshwari seats would help Siddaramaiah to again stake claim to the state’s top post for second consecutive time, if the party wins the elections with a brute majority.
The Karnataka Chief Minister is locking horns with B. Sriramulu of the BJP.
In the 2013 elections, Congress won the Badami seat with a margin of 15,113 votes (10.87 per cent) securing 41.31 per cent of the total votes polled. The constituency saw a voter turnout of 70.71 per cent.
In 2008, however, the BJP won this constituency with a margin of 5,107 votes (4.29 per cent), receiving 44.85 per cent of the votes polled.
There are a total of 2,14,834 voters in the constituency, having over 1 lakh female voters and 16 others.
The polling, which began at 7 am today in 58,546 polling stations, each equipped with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs), will conclude at 6 pm.
The election in two constituencies, Jayanagar and R.R. Nagar, has been postponed.
In Jayanagar, the polling has been deferred due to the death of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, B N Vijay Kumar, while in R.R. Nagar, it has been postponed due to fake voter-ID row.
The election in Karnataka is considered crucial for the Congress Party, as it would be looking to prevent the BJP juggernaut from expanding its footprints in the south.
Since the 2014 general election, the Congress has been defeated by the BJP in over a dozen states, drastically shrinking its political footprint.
The BJP is making an all-out bid to oust the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka and is looking to come back to power in the state with B.S. Yeddyurappa, its chief ministerial candidate. Interestingly, no incumbent government has been re-elected in Karnataka since 1985.
The Janata Dal (Secular) is looking to establish itself once again in Karnataka politics and is expected to give a tough fight to both the BJP and the Congress.
A total of 2,654 candidates are in the fray and 4.96-crore electorate, including 2.44 crore women, will cast their votes. Over 15 lakh people are first-time voters in the 18-19 age group.
Tight security is in place to ensure smooth and peaceful polling across the 222 seats out of 224 assembly constituencies ,spread across 30 districts. (ANI)