Karnataka will see bypolls to two Assembly seats on October 30th - the first elections since Basavaraj Bommai took over as chief minister following the resignation of BS Yediyurappa. The bypolls follow the deaths of the two MLAs - BJP's CM Udasi from the Hangal constituency and Janata Dal Secular's MC Managuli from the Sindagi constituency.
Hangal and Sindagi are both in north Karnataka - a region with a strong Lingayat presence. Basavaraj Bommai is a Lingayat like his predecessor BS Yediyurappa and this puts greater pressure on the BJP to do well in these polls. Lingayats have been seen as traditional BJP voters and thought to be one of the reasons why Mr Bommai was chosen to take over from Mr Yediyurappa in July. Hangal is in Mr Bommai's home district of Haveri.
With Karnataka going to polls in 2023, these two bypolls are seen as an early indication for the parties to determine which way the wind is blowing.
Leaders of all the major political parties have been campaigning extensively on the ground even though the winners will only hold office for less than 19 months.
Ahead of voting, the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and JD(S) have been taking potshots at each other.
Recently, a bitter battle was fought on Twitter between Karnataka's current and former Chief Ministers with Siddaramaiah slamming Basavaraj Bommai for his statement in Mangaluru that moral policing is "action and reaction" caused by "hurt sentiments". The Chief Minister's statements were seen as being soft on moral policing.
Earlier this week, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said the RSS was an organisation where people learned how to watch "blue films" in Assembly. He was responding to BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel's invitation to him to visit an RSS shakha. Mr Kumaraswamy was referring to an episode from 2012 when three BJP ministers were allegedly caught watching porn in the state Assembly.
The candidates in the fray for the bypolls to the two seats are:
Shivaraj Sajjanar from BJP
Srinivas Mane from Congress
Niyaz Shaikh from JD(S)
Ramesh Bhusanur from BJP
Ashok Managuli from Congress
Naziya Shakeel Ahmed from JD(S)
The votes will be counted on November 2.