Voting has concluded in three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats in Karnataka in a crucial set of by-elections that will test the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state. According to the figures released by the Election Commission immediately after polling ended, the turnout was 61.05 per cent in Shivamogga, 63.85 per cent in Ballari and 53.93 per cent in Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies. A high polling percentage of 81.58 per cent at The Jamkhandi assembly constituency while in Ramanagara it was 73.71 per cent.
The Congress and the JD(S), who are alliance partners in the state, have fielded joint candidates in all the five seats. The JD(S) is contesting the Mandya and Shivamogga Lok Sabha seats and the Ramanagara assembly constituency. The Congress has put up candidates in the Ballari Lok Sabha seat and north Karnataka's Jamakhandi assembly seat.
In Ramanagara, JD(S) nominee Anitha Kumaraswamy, the wife of Mr Kumaraswamy, has been given a virtual walkover with BJP candidate L Chandrashekhar quitting the party to join the Congress two days before polling. The by-election was necessitated because Mr Kumaraswamy contested on two seats - Channapatna and Ramanagara - in the assembly elections earlier this year and resigned from the latter.
"This last minute change... strange things happen so often in politics we are no longer surprises," a Ramanagara voter told NDTV.
Another Ramanagara candidate called HD Revanna, who has the same name as that of the chief minister's brother, is representing a party called Purvanchal Mahapanchayat. This is seen by many as a bid to confuse voters and divide the JD(S) vote.
While BJP has fielded Mr Yeddyurappa's son BY Raghavendra, the JD(S) has nominated Madhu Bangarappa, the son of former chief minister S Bangarappa. BJP's ally in Bihar, Janata Dal (United) also jumped into the contest by fielding Mahima Patel, son of former chief minister JH Patel.
All three former chief ministers have represented Shivamogga in the past. JH Patel won the seat over half a century ago in 1967 as a Samyukta Socialist Party candidate. S Bangarappa won the seat in 1996 and 1999 as a Congress candidate, in 2004 on a BJP ticket and in a 2005 by-election as a Samajwadi Party candidate. Mr Yeddyurappa of the BJP won the seat in 2014. His son, who is now the BJP candidate, had won Shivamogga in 2009.