The persistent drizzle and overcast conditions on Thursday provided a little relief to the 1,500 aspirants who turned up for the physical endurance test on the first day of the recruitment rally for police constables for the Mangalore Commissionerate here.

Several candidates told The Hindu that the relatively cool temperature had helped them cross the first obstacle of completing a 1.6-km run in under six-and-a-half minutes. But the officials said that if the rain intensifies in the coming days, the rally might have to be postponed.

The Police Department has received 19,700 applications from across the State. But only one candidate out of a hundred will finally make the cut for the 200 police constable's posts that are currently lying vacant at the 17 police stations under the Mangalore Police Commissionerate. The recruitment rally will go on for the next two weeks at the Nehru Maidan, Mangala Stadium and the Panambur Stadium.

A majority of the candidates who turned up for the rally on Thursday were from Bagalkot, Bidar, Bellary and Raichur districts. Police officers who were conducting the rally said that this was a common trend. “Most of these boys are from agricultural families and joining the police force at the lowest level is a way out of poverty for them,” said a Police Inspector.

However, not all the candidates attended the rally because of a lack of other options. K.M. Manjunath (23) from Konasur village near Mysore said that he came from a family of money-lenders that owns nearly 10 acres of well-irrigated farmland. He said he wants to root out crime from society.

K.R. Mohanraj (20), who is a final year law student, attended the rally against his family's wishes. For him, law is a boring field and he finds policing an exciting profession.

Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh said that a lot of care had gone into making the recruitment process fair, transparent and corruption-free. The performance of each candidate was video recorded and announced on the public address system. “We have also put up notice boards with the phone number that candidates can dial to for registering complaints against malpractices,” he said. The introduction of the electronic body-mass-index machine too has aided transparency, he said.

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