Bangalore, May 5 (IANS) Karnataka Sunday witnessed a heavy voter turnout in the 14th legislative assembly elections, with 70 percent polling across the state that will determine the fate of the ruling BJP and its rival Congress, which is looking to stage a comeback after a gap of seven years.
Counting will take place Wednesday (May 8) in 36 centres across the state and all the results will be declared by evening.
“The overall voting percentage is 70.23 across the state. Polling was by and large peaceful barring stray incidents. There was heavy turnout in 26 of the 30 districts, with highest (77.95 percent) in Bangalore Rural and lowest in Bangalore Urban (52.83 percent),” Karnataka chief electoral officer Anil Kumar Jha told reporters here late Sunday.
The polling percentage across the state in the 2008 assembly elections 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,” Jha asserted.
According to the final voting figures, Belgaum district recorded 72.95 percent, Bagalkot 69.88 percent, Bellary 70.84 percent, Bijapur 61.86 percent, Chamarajnagar 74.92 percent, Chikkaballapur 75.89 percent, Chikkmagalur 72.89 percent, Chitradurga 74.93 percent, Dakshina Kannada 73.92, Davangere 74.91 percent, Dharwad 68.76 percent, Gadag 69.90, Hassan 76.88 percent, Haveri 75.91 percent, Kodagu 68.95 percent, Kolar 73.92 percent, Koppal 69.92, Mandya 74.91 percent, Mysore 67.82, Raichur 62.92, Ramanagaram 74.96 percent, Shimoga 73.84 percent, Tumkur 74.88 percent, Udupi 76.96 percent and Uttara Kannada 68.93 percent.
Districts that recorded below 60 percent voting besides Bangalore Urban (52.83 percent) are in the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region: Bidar 54.98 percent, Gulbarga 59.83 percent and Yadgir 58.88 percent
Polling was held for 223 of the 224 elected constituencies, 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 Anglo-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 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 million.
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 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./eom/610 words.