Special Correspondent

93 candidates are in the fray for 23 seats; polling will be held tomorrow

Two candidates have already been elected unopposed

‘No panchayat member held captive in Dharwad’

Bangalore: Campaigning for biennial elections to 23 seats from 19 local authorities constituencies in the Legislative Council ended on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Polling will be held on Friday.

As many as 93 candidates are in the fray.

Two candidates in Dakshina Kannada district — Srinivas Poojar (BJP) and Pratapchandra Shetty (Congress) — have already been declared elected unopposed.

With this, the Election Commission has saved poll expenditure of Rs. 20 lakh, according to election officials here.

They said that no member of the zilla, taluk and gram panchayat has been held captive in Dharwad.

The Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad reported that 93 members gathered at two private hotels to attend a marriage function and also visit the Renuka Yellamma temple fair in the district.

The office of the Chief Electoral Officer had not received any confirmed report of kidnapping of members of local bodies, as alleged by the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders, the officials told presspersons here on Wednesday.

The Congress has urged the Election Commission to take steps to ensure free and fair elections, following reports of panchayat members being kept in hotels and resorts allegedly by the BJP.

A total of 21 candidates of the ruling BJP, 16 of the Congress, eight of the Janata Dal (S), one each of the Janata Dal (United) and Kannada Vatal Paksha are in the fray.

The Janata Dal (S) and the Congress have entered into an electoral understanding with the aim to defeat the BJP.

Three will be a direct contest between the BJP and Congress in Bidar, Chikmagalur and Bangalore Urban, while there will triangular contests involving the Congress, the Janata Dal (S) and BJP in Raichur, Chitradurga, Hassan, Tumkur, and Mandya constituencies.

A total of 44 independent candidates are in the fray.

The Janata Dal (United) has fielded its candidates in Dharwad constituency, while Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj has entered the fray from Mysore.

The constituency-wise candidates in the fray are: Bidar (2), Belgaum and Gulbarga (6 each), Uttara Kannada (4), Dharwad (8), Raichur, Hassan, Tumkur, Mandya, Kodagu and Chitradurga (3), Bellary (6), Bangalore Rural, Kolar and Shimgoa (5 each), Bangalore Urban and Chikmagalur (2), Mysore (13) and Bijapur (11).