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GP polls: 70 p.c. turnout in phase I

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An elderly woman waits for her turn at a polling booth in Honnagana Hatti near Bangalore on Saturday.
An elderly woman waits for her turn at a polling booth in Honnagana Hatti near Bangalore on Saturday.

Special Correspondent

Printing mistakes in ballot papers reported in some places

Bangalore: Over 70 per cent of rural voters exercised their franchise in largely peaceful elections to 2,641 gram panchayats held across 16 districts in the State on Saturday.

According to the State Election Commission, 70.73 per cent of the electorate cast their vote in the first phase of the elections. Bangalore Rural recorded the highest turnout of 80 per cent while Yadgir recorded the lowest of 60 per cent.

The percentage of polling in different districts is as follows: Bangalore Urban - 70, Bangalore Rural - 80, Ramanagaram - 65, Chitradurga - 70, Davangere - 76, Kolar - 74, Chickballapur - 70, Shimoga - 70, Tumkur - 70, Bidar - 73, Bellary - 75, Gulbarga - 70, Yadgir - 60, Raichur - 70, Koppal – 70, Udupi – 71.57 and Karkala 76.96.

Polling was held in 16,965 booths for 2,641 seats. Over 1.16 lakh candidates are in the fray for 43,791 seats.

Barring a few incidents of clashes between workers of political parties, water being poured into a ballot box and printing mistakes in ballot papers in a few booths, polling was by and large peaceful. Printing mistakes in ballot papers were reported from a few gram panchayats in Gulbarga, Koppal, Bellary, Ramanagaram, Chickballapur and Bangalore Rural districts.

Polling was interrupted in Adigudda-Barahali in Kudligi taluk of Bellary district on account of mistakes in ballot papers. In Tumti village in Sandur taluk of Bellary district, a voter who did not find his name in the electoral rolls poured water into the ballot box. Similarly, in Gankihall in Bellary taluk, a voter poured washing powder into a ballot box after he found his name missing from the voters' list.

Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) A.R. Infant told The Hindu that at Nagavalli near Hebbur in Kunigal taluk, the police averted a clash between workers of two political parties. Workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) had resorted to stone-throwing, he said.

In another incident, an altercation between a JD(S) worker and a Congress worker led to a group clash at Amrutur in Kunigal taluk. Police intervened and dispersed the crowd. Five persons were injured in the clash, he added.

Repolling

Repolling will be held in booths where printing mistakes in ballot papers were reported. The re-election will be held on May 12 along with the second phase of polling in 15 districts. Counting of votes polled in both the phases will be taken up on May 17.

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