Bangalore, May 10: About 15 per cent of an estimated 17.3 million electorate exercised their franchise till 10 am today in the eighty-nine constituencies spread over eleven districts where polling is underway for the first phase of Karnataka Assembly polls.
According to official sources, the poll process started without any trouble and no untoward incident had been reported. Small queues were noticed in several constituencies in the morning with the voters preferring to cast their ballot before the weather turns hot. Prominent leaders in the fray for this phase include former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy (JD-S), seeking re-election from Ramanagaram and his elder brother HD Revanna from Holenarsipur in Hassan district, and Congress Campaign Committee Chairman and former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, contesting from newly carved Varuna segment in Mysore District. A keen contest is on the cards between the Congress, BJP and JD (S). About one lakh polling officials and 58,000 security personnel have been drafted in for the exercise.
The Election Commission has recognised nineteen documents as alternative for Election Photo Identity Cards EPIC for polling.
A total of 953 candidates, including seventeen women are in fray.
Elaborate security and administrative arrangements have been made by the Election Commission (EC) in the districts of Tumkur, Bangalore, Bangalore rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagara, Mandya, Hassan, Kodagu, Mysore and Chamarajanagar for the polls.
Besides the state police, security personnel from neighbouring states and nearly two hundred companies of Central Para-Military forces have been deployed.
The commission has also deployed thousands of micro observers to check bogus voting and restraining miscreants from destabilising poll process.
Over 100,000 state and central government and public sector officials have been engaged to conduct the poll.