Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Nearly 71 per cent of the voters in rural areas of Karnataka exercised their franchise in largely peaceful elections to 2,833 gram panchayats held across 15 districts on Wednesday.

State Election Commission Secretary D.K. Ravindranath said according to the preliminary reports, 70.92 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the second phase. Belgaum and Hassan recorded highest turnout of 80 per cent voters while Uttara Kannada recorded lowest 65 per cent polling.

The percentage of polling in the first phase in 16 districts was 80.23. The exact percentage of polling in the second phase would known only on Thursday.

The polling will decide the fate of over 1.15 lakh candidates who are in the fray for 40,351 seats in 15 districts. No candidates have filed nominations for 128 seats while 3,938 candidates have been elected unopposed.

Barring few stray incidents of mistakes in printing of symbols in ballot papers in a few booths and boycott of polling in some villages, the polling was by and large peaceful. Printing mistakes have been reported from a few booths in districts of Belgaum division. Repolling would be held on May 15.

Repolling was held on Wednesday in 24 polling stations in 11 districts.

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