Bengaluru disappointed yet again. The weekend slumber was clear as the IT capital of India registered a poor 54 per cent polling in the Karnataka assembly elections. The overall polling percentage for the state was slightly in the excess of 70 per cent.
The single-phase polling held in 222 Assembly constituencies was by and large peaceful. However, the voter turnout in Bengaluru continued to be poor with only an estimated 54% turning up at the polling booths. In the 2013 Assembly polls, Bengaluru Urban district comprising 28 constituencies had witnessed 57.33% voting. The state's overall polling percentage in 2013 was 71.45. The polling figures provided by the Election Commission were based on preliminary reports.
Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru that the final figures will be released on Sunday. The highest poll percentage was in 1978 when 71.9 % of the voters exercised their franchise. The state's average voting percentage was 64.68 in 2008 and 65.67 in 2004. Voters turned out at polling booths in large numbers despite minor incidents of violence, scorching summer heat and rainfall in some parts of the state.
Faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs), VVPAT mismatch, technical glitches disrupted polling for some time in a few booths.The highest polling percentage was recorded in Ramanagaram (80) followed by Chikkaballapur (79). The next lowest polling after Bengaluru was recorded in Kalaburagi (56%). Counting of votes is scheduled to begin from 8 am on May 15. The election for the Jayanagar seat in Bengaluru was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA B N Vijay Kumar. The Election Commission also deferred the polls for Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to May 28 after a massive row erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment. A good voter turnout is attributed to many reasons by political analysts including that it could be an indication of the electorate voting for a change.
The ECI undertook a slew of measures to encourage more people, especially youth, to participate in the electoral process. Several NGOs had conducted vigorous campaigns in recent weeks to encourage people to vote. The EC had also extended the duration of polling by one hour to provide some relief to voters from the scorching summer. But Bangaloreans continued to be apathetic.
The ECI had ordered re-polling at Gandhi Vidyalaya Kannada and Tamil Primary School in Lottegollahalli in Hebbal following faulty ballot units. Polling will be held on May 14 here. Both Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, who voted from Varuna and Shikaripura respectively, asserted that their respective parties will win the polls.
In Hassan, Congress candidate B P Manje Gowda, who is pitted against H D Revanna of the JD(S) in the Holenarsipur constituency, was attacked allegedly by JD(S) workers. An angry mob, according to Gowda, threw stones at his car and his assistant Supreeth suffered a head injury.
The Kolar Rural police arrested four persons on charges of enticing voters. They were reportedly distributing nose rings to women voters. BJP and JD(S) workers clashed at a booth in the Yelahanka Assembly constituency. The police, who rushed to the spot, said the BJP workers barged into the polling booth, accusing JD(S) workers sitting inside the booth and canvassing for their party candidate. In Byrahalli polling booth in Srirangapatna Assembly constituency, polling went past 8 pm with a long line of voters queuing up before the polls by 6 pm.
Sanjeev Kumar said the police reported five incidents of violence - three in Bengaluru, one each in Vijayapura and Hassan. Four persons have been injured in these incidents. An old woman attempted suicide at a polling station in Devagiri village of Haveri district as she was upset that there were no basic facilities in her village.Ari Anne Acharya, a voter who came to vote at Belthangadi taluk, collapsed while standing in the queue. He was rushed to the hospital immediately but was declared dead.