Elections held to 199 gram panchayats; turnout estimated between 73 and 76 per cent

Moderate to brisk polling was witnessed in Dakshina Kannada where elections were held to 199 gram panchayats on Wednesday.

Polling passed off peacefully.

Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj estimated that the turnout was between 73 per cent and 76 per cent.

The correct polling percentage will be announced on Thursday.

He said the credit for peaceful conduct of the lections should go to the police.

Polling, which started on a slow pace in the morning, picked up momentum as the day passed by. Long queues were seen in front of some booths in Bantwal taluk and in Mudipu Gram Panchayat limits in Mangalore taluk.

Senior citizens came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise. Two women in Sajipanadu village found that someone had cast their votes by the time they reached the polling booth (numbers 135/1 and 134/1). The women — Zohra and Aisamma — later preferred to cast “tendered votes.”

Polling was held under tight security at Sajipamuda and Thumbe. Police vans were stationed outside the polling booths at both the villages as they were categorised as “hyper sensitive”.

Videographed

Polling process was videographed at Sajipamuda. Polling was moderate in the first few hours in Someshwara, where people had boycotted all elections held during the last three years. Voters such as S.N. Uchila (whose wife is a contesting the gram panchayat election) and Jagadish Sanjeeva said boycotting the elections in the last three years had served no purpose.

Mr. Uchila and Mr. Sanjeeva said the gram panchayat had to be converted into a town panchayat to ensure development of the area. Mr. Uchila said the gram panchayat, which had failed to clear dues to Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd., could hardly take up any development activity.

More In: Mangalore