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Peaceful polling during first phase of elections in 17 constituencies

Orderly: People waiting for their turn to vote at Thyagarajanagar, in Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency, during the first phase of elections on Thursday.

Orderly: People waiting for their turn to vote at Thyagarajanagar, in Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency, during the first phase of elections on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Special Correspondent

Low voter turnout and boycotts were the order of the day

BANGALORE: A relatively low voter turnout and voter boycotts in several constituencies marked the first phase of elections in 17 of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka. An average voting of 51 per cent was recorded around the closing time of polling. Though the polling percentage is expected to cross the 55 mark, it is significantly below the nearly 62 per cent polling recorded in the first phase of the 2004 general elections.

As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, 1.32 crore voters of the 2.62 crore eligible electorate in the first phase of elections exercised their franchise. The people’s anger over their names missing or having been deleted from the voters’ list was visible in several urban pockets. This was felt in the Bangalore constituencies where complaints of missing names came from minority pockets.

Complaints dismissed

When questioned about this, Election Commission authorities dismissed the complaints and said that it was the responsibility of the voters to have checked the voters’ list ahead of the polling day. There were also reports of voters who had received their Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) in the last two weeks finding their names missing from the voters’ list.

A highlight of the first phase of elections in the State was poll boycott at several polling places spread across several constituencies. It was the first time in the history of electoral politics in Karnataka that voters in 23 polling stations stayed away to register their protest. Bijapur constituency recorded a low of 43 per cent polling.

At three polling stations in Gauribidanur, which comes under the Chickaballapur constituency, voters boycotted polling to register their protest against the alleged murder of three local residents in Gujarat recently. At two polling stations in Yelahanka, people boycotted polling saying their lands had been notified for acquisition by the Bangalore Development Authority. Chief Electoral Officer M.N. Vidyashankar said decisions on re-polling in any polling station, if need be, would be taken on Friday, based on the approval of the Election Commission.

Official dead

Bank employee T.V. Krishnappa, who was as a micro-observer at Nelamangala in the Chickaballapur constituency, died of a heart attack outside a polling station.

The authorities said there was near total compliance to the directions issued to all private and public limited companies, commercial banks and other establishments coming under the purview of the Labour Act, the Representation of the People Act, the Negotiable Instruments Act and the Indian Contract Act, to declare a holiday to enable people to cast their vote.

Voting was brisk in Bellary (58.35 p.c.), Chikkodi (63.5 p.c.), Kolar (55 p.c.), Uttara Kannada (53 p.c.), Tumkur (56 p.c.), Bangalore Rural (60 p.c.), Bangalore South (50 p.c.) and Chickaballapur (60 p.c.), while the turnout was low in Raichur (42 p.c.), Chitradurga (49 p.c.), Bangalore North (45 p.c.), Bangalore Central (45 p.c.), Bijapur (43 p.c.), Belgaum (49 p.c.) and Gulbarga (45 p.c.). The polling percentage at Bidar and Koppal was 48.

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