Karnataka poll: Voting time advanced by an hour

Bangalore, April 9 (IANS) The Election Commission Tuesday announced it was advancing the start of balloting time for the May 5 Karnataka assembly poll by an hour in view of the summer heat.

The booths will now open at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. and close by 5 p.m., Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath told reporters here.

All political parties in the state Monday met Sampath and Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and S.N.A. Zaidi and requested that the balloting time be advanced in view of the intense heat in May, which is the peak summer month in the state.

Several parts of north Karnataka are already sizzling at around 40 degrees Celsius and even Bangalore has been suffering intense heat with maximum temperature hovering around 36 degrees Celsius.

Sampath said parties were also permitted to provide drinking water to voters near polling booths.

Sampath and the two election commissioners, who arrived here Monday on a two-day visit to review poll preparation, said though the election commission itself would be distributing voter slips to all voters this time. Political parties can also do so near polling booths as has been the practice all these years.

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