First phase poll completed peacefully in 11 districts

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Bangalore, May 10 (UNI) Electoral fortune of as many as 953 candidates, including former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and his arch rival S Sidharamaiah, was sealed in ballot boxes in the first phase of the Karnataka Assembly elections, which went off peacefully today.

Talking to newspersons here, Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar said the first phase elections, which was conducted in 89 assembly seats, spread over 11 districts in Southern parts of the state, was completed without any notable incident. The campaign for the first phase elections had also gone off well as many top national political figures, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, senior BJP leader L K Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, had addressed public meetings and sought support for their candidates.

Bangalore will play a vital role in formation of the next Government and none of the parties missed this point. The City District now has 28 constituencies after delimitation as compared to earlier 16.

The Karnataka elections assume significance as it is the first State to go to the polls after the EC redrew the boundaries of assembly segments following the Delimitation Commission recommendations.

The Congress has high stakes in the Karnataka polls, as it was being held after announcing the historic waiving of farm loan to the extent of Rs 60,000 crore by the United Progressive Alliance(UPA) Government.

Those whose electoral fortunes were sealed in the ballot boxes today, included former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, his cabinet colleagues Cheluvarayaswamy, H D Revanna, Karantaka Speaker S M Krishna (All JD-S), Union Minister M H Ambarish, former Union Minister Srinivas Prasad, former Karantaka Deputy Chief Minister S Sidharamaiah, Youth Congress(YC) chief Krishna Byregowda (All Cong) and BJP leaders R Ashok, Katta Subramanya Naidu, G T Deve Gowda and Shobha Karandlaje.

The second phase of elections for 69 seats in ten districts isscheduled for May 16, followed by third and final phase polls for 66 seats in eight northern districts on May 22.

The counting of votes will take place on May 25.

The Election Commission had deployed as many as 200 companies of Central Reserve Force(CRF), apart from the State Security Personnel, for the elections.

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