About 70 per cent of the electorate cast their ballot in Bellary (rural) bypoll in Karnataka where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is locked in a bitter contest with its former leader B Sreeramulu who is seeking re-election as an independent.
"The polling was completely peaceful", an election commission official said. With 133 polling booths identified as hypersensitive and 52 sensitive out of the total 195, the Assembly segment had come under a thick security blanket with some 2,500 personnel, including four companies of central paramilitary force, civil police and home guards, deployed.
Sreeramulu, a former health minister, quit the seat after being indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, and parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party by contesting as an independent. It's seen as a prestigious battle for the ruling BJP, after the Reddy brothers and former Ministers -- G Janardhana Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy, who had been given free hand in the district party affairs -- drifted away from it. In the run-up to the fiercely contested bypoll, BJP suspended two Lok Sabha members, three MLAs and one MLC who backed Sreeramulu.
P Gadilingappa is the BJP candidate, while the Congress has fielded B Ramprasad in this triangular contest. JDS of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda has extended support to Sreeramulu. The counting is scheduled for December 4.
In Haryana, a high 79 per cent of the 3.14 lakh voters sealed the fate of 37 candidates who are in the fray for the by-elections to the Adampur and Ratia Assembly constituencies, which ended peacefully on Wednesday evening.
Official sources said that 81.84 per cent of the 1.76 lakh voters sealed the fate of 16 candidates who were in fray for the Ratia assembly seat in Fatehabad district. The polling was 3.85 per cent more as compared with 2009 general election to the state assembly when the voter turnout was 77.99 per cent.
The voter turnout in Adampur assembly constituency in Hissar district, however, declined by 5.38 per cent as 75.79 per cent of the 1.37 lakh voters sealed the fate of 21 candidates. In the 2009 general election the polling per
centage was 81.17, the sources said.
The polling in both the constituencies was peaceful and remained brisk since morning when the voting process commenced. Congress has fielded former legislator Kulbeer Singh against Renuka Bishnoi, wife of HJC-BL Chief Kuldeep Bishnoi and INLD's R S Baswana, who retired as Sessions Judge from Kaithal in August.
Adampur has remained a citadel of former Haryana Chief Minister late Bhajan Lal and his family. Lal himself won the seat on nine occasions while his son Bishnoi resigned from the seat last month after his election to the Lok Sabha from Hisar, thus necessitating the bypoll.
In Ratia segment in Fatehabad district, INLD fielded Sarfi Bai against Congress' former MLA Jarnail Singh and Mahavir Prasad of the newly former alliance of BJP and HJC.
Gian Chand Odh of the INLD represented Ratia in the state Assembly and his death in September necessitated the by polls. The party has fielded his widow Sarfi from the seat. As many as 16 candidates including 10 Independents are in the fray in Ratia constituency and 21 candidates including 13 Independents in Adampur.
The counting of votes in both the constituencies would take place on December 4.
The by-election to the prestigious Kolkata Dakshin Lok Sabha constituency, vacated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, recorded a voting percentage of 51.55, a sharp drop of 15.27 per cent from the figure in 2009.
Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kumar Gupta told mediapersons, "51.55 percent voting was recorded in the by-election in the constituency. During the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, the percentage of voting was 66.82."
He said that during the assembly poll in May, the seven assembly segments of the seat had together registered 71.6 per cent voting.
Asked about the lower percentage, Gupta attributed it to a bypoll in an urban constituency. "But despite that the Election Commission is trying to improve the situation by social networking of young and new voters along with various other steps."
The polling was peaceful, he said, adding 23 EVMs had to be replaced in booths due to malfunctioning. The chief minister, her predecessor, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee cast their votes.
The main contest is between Trinamool Congress's state president Subrata Bakshi and Ritabrata Banerjee of CPI-M.
Three independents are also in the fray. BJP and Trinamool's ally Congress did not put up
candidates. The seat fell vacant after Banerjee resigned as MP and successfully fought the assembly by-election from Bhowanipore for her maiden entry into the state legislature.
The constituency is locally known as the chief minister's pocket borough as Banerjee has won six times in a row since 1991.