An estimated 65 per cent of the 4.62 crore voters across Karnataka exercised their franchise in the 16th Lok Sabha elections on Thursday to decide the fate of 434 candidates in 28 constituencies.
Barring a few minor incidents, polling was by and large peaceful. The polling was impressive in this election compared to the voting percentage of 58.81 in the 2009 elections.
As many as nine constituencies recorded more than 70 per cent polling.
The turnout in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections was 65.14 per cent and it was 72 per cent in the 2013 Assembly elections.
The highest polling was recorded in Dakshina Kannada constituency (75 per cent), while the lowest was in Gulbarga (51 per cent). All three constituencies of Bangalore (Central and South — 55 per cent each and North — 52 per cent) continued to record low voter turnout.
The percentage of polling in other constituencies are Chikkodi — 71, Belgaum — 63.3, Bagalkot — 63.2, Bijapur (SC) — 55, Raichur (ST) — 54, Bidar — 58, Koppal — 64, Bellary (ST) — 71, Haveri — 68, Dharwad — 66, Uttara Kannada — 65, Davangere — 69, Shimoga — 70, Udupi–Chikmagalur — 72, Hassan — 72, Chitradurga (SC) — 53, Tumkur — 71, Mandya — 69, Mysore–Kodagu — 66, Chamarajanagar (SC) — 71, Bangalore Rural — 68, Chickballapur — 73, and Kolar (SC) — 69.
Asked about the low turnout as compared to the 2013 Assembly elections, Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said, “normally the polling percentage in the Lok Sabha elections will be low by at least about 5. Actually, the percentage of polling this time may go up by 1, which is quite satisfactory. It’s not a big decline in polling percentage.”
Voters had lined up to exercise their franchise at polling stations in good numbers since morning. The final tally would be known only on Friday, he said. Mr. Jha said EVMs were replaced in 93 booths. Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) was replaced in 55 booths in the Bangalore South constituency.
The CEO said the repoll could be held in two polling stations of Sringeri in Chikmagalur district and Govindarajanagar in Bangalore South on account of technical reasons. A final decision on repoll would be taken on Friday.
Voters in 14 polling booths boycotted polling in protest against lack of infrastructure and denial of lift irrigation project.
People of Haladasohalli and Dabbebetta village in Turuvakere taluk, Aurad, Bhalki, Bidar, Hanur taluk in Chamarajangar, Karwar, Sirsi, Ramasandra in Mulabagal taluk, and Jodi Krishnapura and Vinobanagar in Kolar taluk boycotted polls.
Four persons were arrested in connection with clashes between agents of two political parties at Maidanahalli polling station in Kanakapura taluk of Ramangaram district.