Counting of votes for the biennial election to the Karnataka Legislative Council from two graduates' and an equal number of teachers' constituencies got underway on Wednesday.
North-West Graduates', South Graduates', North-West Teachers', and West Teachers' constituencies went for polls on Monday, witnessing an overall voter turnout of 71.01 per cent. The process of counting of votes which began at 8 am, is under way, poll officials said. A total of 49 candidates were in the fray for the polls, including four women.
The ruling BJP and the principal opposition Congress had fielded one candidate each in all the four constituencies, while the JD(S) had candidates in the fray in three constituencies other than the North-West Graduates' constituency, the remaining candidates were all either independents or from unrecognised parties.
The elections to the four seats of the Upper House of Karnataka Legislature were necessitated as the term of BJP's Nirani Hanamant Rudrappa (N-W Graduates') and JD(S)' K T Srikante Gowda (S-Graduates'), BJP's Arun Shahpur (N-W Teachers') and JD(S)' Basavaraj Horatti (W-Teachers') are coming to an end on July 4.
Horatti, who was Chairman of Legislative Council until recently, had resigned from the post to join the BJP, and is now the ruling party's candidate for West Teachers' constituency, seeking a record eighth successive term. He is pitted against Basavaraj Gurikar and Shrishail Gadadinni from the Congress and JD(S) respectively.
For N-W Teachers' constituency, the battle is between Arun Shahpur of BJP, who is seeking re-election against former Congress MLA and MP Prakash Hukkeri and Chandrashekhar Esappa Loni of JD(S); while for the South Graduates' constituency, former MLC M V Ravishankar of the BJP is taking on Madhu G Madegowda of Congress and H K Ramu of JD(S).
Of the four constituencies, only N-W Graduates seat witnessed a direct fight between Nirani Hanamant Rudrappa of BJP, who is seeking re-election, and Congress' Sunil Annappa Sank, as JD(S) has not fielded any candidate from the seat.
The outcome of this poll is crucial for the ruling BJP to maintain its majority in the 75-member upper house, which it recently gained, following the unopposed election of four of its candidates during the biennial polls for seven MLC seats in the State elected by MLAs, last month.
(With PTI inputs)