Over 60 percent of the 43.6 million voters cast their ballots till
5 p.m. in the 14th Karnataka assembly polls Sunday to decide the
fate of the first BJP government in south India, an official said
In Bangalore, which has earned notoriety for low polling, the
balloting pace remained slow with only around 45 percent of the
city's seven million voters exercising their franchise, an
election official told reporters.
Balloting, which began across the state at 7 a.m., ends at 6 p.m.
"Voting has been peaceful though there were protests in some
places over missing names or malfunctioning electronic voting
machines or heated exchange of words among supporters of various
contestants," a Karnataka police spokesperson told reporters in
Election officials said that in a few villages in north Karnataka,
people had stayed away from voting protesting against lack of
basic facilities like drinking water.
The polling began on a brisk note, despite hot weather conditions
across the state. The votes will be counted May 8.
With the Election Commission (EC) advancing commencement of
polling by an hour to 7 a.m., hundreds of voters made a beeline to
booths in many of the 223 assembly constituencies to cast their
vote through electronic voting machines (EVMs).
But in the first four hours of voting, polling was just about 15
The EC had also extended the duration of polling by an hour to 6
p.m., in view of the scorching summer heat across the state,
Polling is being held for 223 of the state assembly's 224 elected
seats. Election from the Periyapatna constituency of Mysore
district has been countermanded, following the death of ruling
Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Sannamoge Gowda April 29. Polling
there has now been rescheduled for May 28.
One seat in the state assembly is reserved for a nominated member
from the Ango-Indian community.
In all, 52,034 polling booths have been set up across the 223
assembly segments, with 10,103 of them declared hyper-sensitive
and 14,209 as sensitive.
Of the state's 61.13 million population, 43.6 million are
registered voters, comprising 22.22 million men and 21.35 million
women. First-time voters in the age group of 18-22 years are 3.55
As the state capital, Bangalore has the largest number of voters
-- 7.03 million of a total population of 10 million -- and the
highest number of assembly segments at 28.
Among the eligible voters, 534,548 are first-timers, as they
enrolled for this election in January.
About 253,000 officials from state and central governments and
state-run organisations are on poll duty, with 48,182 police
personnel outside booths and about 100,000 additional forces
deployed around booths to maintain law and order.
About 2,000 flying squads comprising five members each, including
a photographer and a video-grapher to record the proceedings and
ensure free and fair voting, a poll official said.
The total number of candidates in the fray are 2,948, including
170 women candidates.
Major political parties such as the ruling BJP, the Congress, the
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the newly-formed Karnataka Janata
Party (KJP), a party of the BJP rebels led by its first chief
minister in the southern state B.S. Yeddyurappa are contesting in
all the 223 constituencies across the state.