K 'taka polls: 33 per cent turnout till noon in Phase-II

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Bangalore, May 16: Polling in politically volatile Bellary picked up even as an average 33 per cent votes were polled till noon in the second phase of election to 66 seats in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

Polling was peaceful in all the 12,286 booths spread across ten Districts with no untoward incident reported. In naxal inflicted Udupi District a high 46 per cent to 71 per cent polling was reported till noon. In the polling booths near the area where two people were killed by naxalites last night polling was as high as 50 per cent. In Nadpal Higher Middle School it was 46.18 per cent followed by Sitanadi Hebri Forest Guest house 71.53 per cent and Gudimani 56 per cent. Taking no chances, authorities have deployed CSF, Anti Naxal Force and local police in the naxal inflicted areas. Strict vigil has been maintained and other than voters nobody else were allowed near the polling booths. Even voters had to display their ID card to enter the booth.

Authorities have deployed additional forces in naxal inflicted districts including Udupi, Chikamagalur and Shimoga following killing of two people by naxalites last night in Udupi District.

Large number of voters were seen standing in the queue in front of pooling booths from the early hours fearing that scotching heat may not be suitable for venturing out for voting. There are 589 candidates in the fray including stalwarts like former Chief Minister S Bangarappa who was pitted himself against BJP Chief Ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa in Shikaripur, Bangarappa's two sons are fighting each other for Soraba Assembly seat in Shimoga District. While the high volatile Bellary district will witness the fight between the 'mine king' Anil Lad (Cong) and Sriramulu (BJP).

Former Minister D B Chandregowda (Chikmagalur), former Deputy Chief Minister M P Prakash (Harapanahalli), former Minister and Bangarappa's sons Kumara Bangarappa and Madhu Bangarappa fighting for the Soraba seat in Shimoga district are the other important personalities in the fray. Lok Sabha members Venkatesh Naik, Basavaraj Patil Yatnal, Narasingarao Suryamshi, G Karunakara Reddy and Ramesh Jigjinagi are also in the fray.

Authorities have beefed up security around the polling stations coming under the Naxal-infected districts.

Brisk polling reported with 16 per cent turnout registered during the first three hours of beginning of second phase of polling for 66 Assembly seats spread in 10 Districts of Karnataka today. On the backdrop of Naxalistes killing two in Udupi District last night, the authorities have deployed additional para-miltary forces in Karkala and Udupi.

Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar told to the sources that "no untoward incident reported since the beginning of second phase polling and it is picking up in almost all the 12,286 booths." So far, the naxal inflicted Udupi district has registered highest 21 per cent in the first three hours, while polling is yet to pick up in Bellary (9 Percent) where 'Mine Kings' fighting the battle. BJP Chief Ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa was among the first voters to exercise their franchise.

UNI

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