Udupi: About 12.53 lakh voters are expected to seal the fate of 14 candidates in the by-poll to Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat on Sunday, where three major parties Congress, BJP and JDS have gone on a high voltage campaign.
This is the second by-poll being held in Karnataka after DV Sadananda Gowda assumed office as Chief Minister.
The by-poll was necessitated after Gowda vacated the seat following his elevation as Chief Minister.
Gowda criss crossed the constituency during campaigning to ensure BJP retains the seat despite facing consistent attempts by former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to get himself reinstated ever since he was forced to demit office after the Lokayukta report on illegal mining indicted him.
Yeddyurappa had recently stated he would not ask the BJP high command for Chief Ministership and that it is 'a closed chapter.'
The former Chief Minister did not campaign for this by-poll, irked over the BJP high command turning down his demand for a "suitable position" in the state unit.
BJP had finished a poor third in the November 2011 Bellary by-poll, which saw former minister B Sreeramulu constesting as an independent and winning by a huge margin ahead of Congress.
While BJP has fielded former Karakala MLA Sunil Kumar, former minister K Jayaprakash Hegde is the Congress nominee and Bojegowda is contesting on the JDS symbol.
Election officials said about 7,000 security personnel, including 10 companies of paramilitary forces would keep vigil across two districts of Udupi and Chikmagalur.
Extra security has been provided in 77 Naxal-hit areas. Of the total of 1633 polling stations, 231 have been categorised as hyper sensitive and 788 sensitive.
Counting will be taken up on March 21, the day Gowda presents his first budget in the Assembly.