677 candidates in the fray; 61 hypersensitive booths in the corporation limits

Reluctant they might have been to test their mettle ahead of the Assembly polls, but the V-Day is here. Voters will decide on Thursday if the reluctant political parties will retain their grip on the seven urban local bodies in Dakshina Kannada.

As many as 677 candidates are contesting 189 seats across these self-government bodies. Polling would start at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. The counting will take place on March 11.

Elections will be conducted for 60 seats of Mangalore City Corporation council, 23 seats each of Moodbidri and Bantwal town municipal councils, 27 seats each of Ullal and Puttur town municipal councils, 18 seats of Sullia town panchayat and 11 seats of Belthangady town panchayat.

Sensitive booths

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday the Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada N. Prakash said that 84 booths have been classified as hypersensitive and 70 booths as sensitive in the district. There are 61 hypersensitive booths and 31 sensitive booths in the jurisdiction of Mangalore City Corporation.

He said that in all, 4, 63,791 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in 544 booths across the district. Of them 2, 37,809 voters are women. There would be 380 booths in the jurisdiction of the city corporation.

Mr. Prakash said that 3,000 officials would be pressed into election duty.

He said that political parties which would set up their help desks for voters outside 200m radius of the booths should not display party flags. They should not display the party symbol at the booths in any manner. This is to prevent voters from being misunderstood by others if they approached the desks to find out their booths.

Seeking re-election

Meanwhile, of the 243 candidates contesting the election for MCC council, three of them are seeking re-election for the sixth time. Lancelot Pinto from Bejai (ward no. 31), Harinath from Marakada (ward no. 14) and James D’Souza from Maroli (ward no. 37), who were councillors for five terms, are facing the election for the sixth time. Pinto and Harinath are from the Congress and Mr. D’Souza is contesting as an independent after representing the BJP in the previous council.

He quit the Congress to join the BJP in 2007 after the Congress denied him ticket. This time though he knocked the doors of the Congress again, but was denied party ticket forcing him to test his political fortunes as an independent.

Four-time contestants

Former Mayor M. Shashidhar Hegde from Derebail North (ward no. 17) and Jacintha Vijaya Alfred from Falnir (ward no. 39), three-time councillors from the Congress, are contesting for the fourth time. Revathi K., a rebel candidate of the Bharatitya Janata Party (BJP), is seeking re-election from Surathkal West (ward no. 1). Earlier she had been elected to the council thrice from the BJP. Mariyamma Thomas, a three-time councillor, is contesting as an independent from Padavu Central (no. 35). She was elected to the council twice from the BJP and in 2007 she won as an independent.

Mahabala Marla of the Congress, a two-time councillor, who had lost the election in 2007 is contesting for the fourth time from Kadri Padavu (ward no. 22).

Some other former two-time councillors, who are facing the election for the third time, included Naveenchandra from the BJP (ward no. 29, Kambla); the former Mayor Gulzaar Banu (ward no. 5, Katipalla North), Naveen Robert D’Souza (ward no. 38, Bendoor), Bhaskar K. (ward no. 36 Padavu East), Deepak K. Poojary (ward no. 18, Kavoor), Appi (ward no. 59, Jeppu) all from the Congress.

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