69 percent voting in Karnataka assembly election (Roundup)

Bangalore, May 5 (IANS) Around 69 percent voting was registered Sunday in the 14th Karnataka legislative assembly election in 223 constituencies, with heavy turnout in rural areas but only around 52 percent balloting in Bangalore, an election official said.

“The overall voting percentage will be around 69 across the state. Polling was by and large peaceful barring stray incidents. There was heavy turnout in 24 of the 30 districts, with highest (72 percent) in Hassan and lowest in Bidar (48.5 percent),” Karnataka’s chief electoral officer Anil Kumar Jha told reporters here Sunday.

Counting is scheduled to take place Wednesday (May 8) in 36 centres.

As the final polling percentage from all the constituencies were in processing, Jha said the average voting at 5 p.m. was 63 percent and 65 percent at 6 p.m.

“As voting time was extended by an hour to 6 p.m. from 5 p.m., we have allowed all voters who were present in polling stations till 6 p.m. to exercise their franchise. We are waiting for the final reports of presiding officers to arrive at the final voting percentage,” he said.

The polling percentage across the state in the 2008 assembly election was 64.91.

With no reports of voting being held up or cancelled from any constituency, Jha said re-polling was unlikely. A final decision, however, will be taken Monday after scrutinising diaries of all the presiding officers.

“Re-polling is less likely. Rural electorate voted more than the urban population, with 52 percent of Bangalore electorate casting their ballot by 5 p.m., which is five percent more than 47 percent registered in the 2008 assembly election,” he said.

According to the provisional voting figures, Haveri recorded 71 percent, Hassan 72 percent, Ramanagaram 72.5 percent, Davanagere 68 percent, Dakshina Kannada 67 percent, Chikkaballapur 69.8 percent, Bangalore Rural 67 percent, Belgaum 67.63 percent, Shimoga 63.83 percent, Tumkur 68.89 percent, Bellary 64.33 percent, Bagalkot 60.43 percent, Chikmagalur 63.8 percent, Chamarajnagar 63.75 percent, Chitradurga 60 percent, Dharwad 63 percent, Gadag 60.75 percent, Kolar 67.33 percent, Koppal 60.8 percent, Kodagu 63.5 percent, Mandya 66.43 percent, Mysore 67.43 percent, Udupi 68.8 percent and Uttara Kannada 68.5 percent.

Districts that recorded below 60 percent voting were: Bangalore Urban 52 percent, Bijapur 54.75 percent, Gulbarga 54 percent, Raichur 56.83 percent, Yadgir 54.67 percent and Bidar 48.5 percent.

Polling was held for 223 of the 224 elected seats as election from the Periyapatna segment in Mysore district was countermanded, following the death of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sannamoge Gowda April 29.

Polling in Periyapatna has been rescheduled for May 28 and counting May 30.

One seat in the state assembly is reserved for a nominated member from the Ango-Indian community.

In all, 52,034 polling booths were set up across the 223 assembly segments, with 10,103 of them declared hyper-sensitive and 14,209 sensitive.

Of the state’s 61.13 million population, 43.6 million were registered voters, comprising 22.22 million men and 21.35 million women. First-time voters in the age group of 18-22 years were 3.55 million.

As the state capital, Bangalore had 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 were first-timers, as they enrolled for this election since January.

About 253,000 officials from state and central governments and state-run organisations were 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 were deployed to record the proceedings and ensure free and fair voting.

The total number of candidates in the fray was 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 contested in all the 223 constituencies across the state.

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