Hundreds of voters boycott polling in Karnataka

Bangalore, May 5 (IANS) Hundreds of voters in many constituencies across Karnataka Sunday boycotted the assembly poll in protest against the “apathy” of the political parties and the administration, which, they alleged, had let them down.

Election Commission sources here admitted that angry voters in six of the eight assembly segments across Haveri district, about 330 km from Bangalore, stayed away en masse from polling stations and staged sit-in demos against parties and officials for not providing them basic facilities such as drinking water and power at a time they were reeling under drought.

“We have received reports that in many polling booths across Haveri, Chitradurga, Davangere, Kolar and Chikkaballapur, the turnout was nil, as voters decided to boycott the election,” an EC official told IANS.

Even Soliga tribals in Chamarajanagar district did not cast their ballot in protest against the “indifference” of the authorities to their demands.

In southwest Bangalore, several unhappy voters in the Rajarajeshwarinagar and Anekal assembly segments refused to exercise their franchise as none of their basic needs were met and they were dissatisfied with the choice of candidates in the fray irrespective of the party affiliation.

“Voters are miffed that no elected representatives, including their civic ward corporators visited them or provided amenities such as bitumen roads, water connection and regular power in their localities. As they were betrayed by the political class and officials, they staged demos outside the polling stations holding their voters’ identity cards but refused to vote,” a presiding officer said.

Similarly, in northwest Bangalore, where Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar, of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was contesting, about 40,000 voters, belonging to the “Silent Majority” group, exercised the option of ‘right to reject’ provision in the Peoples’ Representation Act under rule 49 (O) and expressed their resentment by filling up the 19A form, rejecting all contestants.

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