The polls were held in Shikaripur, Bellary Rural and Chikkodi-Sadalga. At 6pm, Chikkodi-Sadalga had witnessed 86% polling, followed by Bellary Rural with 72% and Shikaripur with 71%. Counting of votes is on August 25.
The voters of Malagondakoppa in Shikaripur staged a protest and stayed away from polling in the morning as their demand for a polling station had fallen on deaf ears. The voters had to travel three km to exercise their franchise. By afternoon, former CM and MP BS Yeddyurappa met the villagers and requested them to vote. He admitted that the officials had erred by not having a polling station in the village.
In Bellary, the para-military personnel refused to eat breakfast as it was stale. At Chikkodi, police averted a possible clash between the BJP and Congress workers.
With JD(S) staying away from the contest, the fight is between BJP and Congress at all the three places. At Shikaripur, Yeddyurappa's son BY Raghavendra is the BJP nominee, while HS Shanthaveerappa Gowda (Congress), a one-time associate of Yeddyurappa, his challenger. Here, JD(S) leader HT Baligar, who had bagged around 26,000 votes in the 2013 assembly polls supported the Congress, while former minister Goolihatti Sehkar, who was in the fray as an independent, retired and extended his support to the Congress.
In Bellary rural, MP B Sriramulu's close confidant Obalesh is the BJP candidate, while four-term MLA NY Gopalakrishna the Congress nominee.
In Chikkodi-Sadalga, former minister and MP Prakash Hukkeri's son Ganesh Hukkeri is the Congress candidate and MLC Mahantesh Kavatagimath his challenger from the BJP.
This by-poll to three assembly segments on Thursday is an acid test for chief minister Siddaramaiah, while it is equally important for Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu.
After Congress's unimpressive performance in the Lok Sabha polls, it's crucial for Siddaramaiah to prove his mettle. As a defeat would mean clipping of his authority both in the government and party, he has spared no efforts.
It is important for Yeddyurappa and Hukkeri because it is their sons who are in the fray, while in case of Sriramulu it is his close confidant.