Over 72% turnout in peaceful Karnataka Assembly polls

Predictably, Bengaluru’s turnout in the 28 constituencies remained dismal at an estimated 54.14%

May 10, 2023 11:12 pm | Updated May 11, 2023 09:27 am IST - Bengaluru

Women voters stand in queue outside a polling booth in Mysuru on May 10, 2023.

Women voters stand in queue outside a polling booth in Mysuru on May 10, 2023. | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

The Karnataka Assembly elections held on May 10 passed off peacefully with an impressive turnout of over 72.68%, which is likely to surpass the 2018 figures (72.36%) after final reconciliation of figures.

Voting was largely peaceful barring sporadic incidents of clashes between party workers.

Predictably, Bengaluru’s turnout in the 28 constituencies that come under it remained dismal at an estimated 54.51%, despite a campaign blitz by several national leaders of all parties, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and special drives by the Election Commission to enthuse urban voters.

In stark contrast to Bengaluru, its neighbouring districts with large rural pockets recorded a heavy turnout. Chikkaballapura recorded a turnout of 85.83%, followed by Ramanagara at 84.98%, Bengaluru Rural at 83.76% and Tumakuru at 83.49%.

After Bengaluru, Kalaburagi at 65.22%, Yadgiri at 66.66% and Raichur at 69.79% recorded a relatively lower turnout.

Also read | Poor show in many urban pockets, enthusiasm in low-income and semi-urban areas

Polling for the 224 Assembly seats began on a slow note in the morning with about 8.21% of the votes polled in the first two hours. It gathered pace later in the day.

The State had witnessed a fierce campaign by the ruling BJP, the Congress and the Janata Dal(S). The counting of votes will be held on Saturday.

Karnataka had reported a poll percentage of 71.45% in 2013 and 72.1% in 2018. The turnout in Bengaluru was 62% in 2013 and 57% in 2018.

The ruling BJP in this election is trying to undo the three-decade history of a ruling party not returning to power while the Congress is trying to harness the issue of price rise and alleged corruption of the incumbent government to return to power after five years, even as the Janata Dal (Secular) is fighting to retain its influence in the State politics.

Voting was largely peaceful barring sporadic incidents of clashes between party workers.

Also read | Election flying squad raids BJP call centre in Kalaburagi

With elections contested tightly, especially after high pitch poll campaigns by the national leaders of both ruling BJP and the Congress, the tension on the battle ground was visible but contained, as skirmishes were reported between the party workers from several districts, including Kolar, Ballari, Vijayapura and Gadag. At Masabinal village in Basavana Bagewadi in Vijayapura district, the polling scene turned violent as villagers smashed the spare electronic voting machines (EVMs) thinking that the officials were taking away the EVMs by stopping the poll process.

Though instances of polling being held up due to snag in the EVMs were reported, Election Commission officials said they were fewer in number due to deployment of the M-3 EVMs.

Despite the Election Commission’s effort to provide vote from home for those above 80 years, it seemed to have not created awareness in rural areas with many complaining that they did not know of the facility, but struggled to reach the polling booth to cast their vote.

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