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Peaceful polling in Karnataka final phase
May 22, 2008 08:33 IST
Last Updated: May 22, 2008 13:25 IST
Over 25 per cent of the 1.17 crore electorate cast their votes across 69 constituencies in eight districts of North Karnataka region by noon in the third and final phase of Karnataka assembly elections on Thursday.
More: Battleground Karnataka
The election process remained trouble-free so far, police sources said.
Political parties perceive that which ever party wins more seats in this phase, can expect a smooth passage to the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power.
While Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress enjoy sizeable influence in this region, Janata Dal-Secular led by former prime minister H D Devegowda is also eying to win some seats in this belt, to push up its tally and once again emerge a key player in government formation.
However, the level of confidence among BJP and Congress had been high as the front-ranking leaders of these parties have been claiming to grab a lion's share of the 69 seats.
BJP, which bagged more than 30 seats in this region in the last poll, is hoping to win more than 40 seats in its strongholds like Dharwad, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur and Bidar.
Congress, which suffered reverses in 2004 in this region, has gone all out to edge out BJP.
Prominent candidates in this phase include former chief minister N Dharam Singh (Congress), eyeing for a ninth successive record victory from his bastion, Jewargi, where he is being challenged strongly by BJP.
Former minister A B Patil (Cong), seeking his fourth succesive win, is fighting a bitter battle of ballot against his political rival Umesh Katti of JDS in Hukkeri after his traditional constituency Sankeshwar vanished in delimitation process.
Four Jarkiholi brothers are in fray in Gokak Taluk. While former minister and JDS leader Balachandra Jarkiholi is seeking re-election in Arabhavi, Ramesh and Bhimashi are fighting against each other in Gokak assembly segment on Congress and BJP tickets. Satish Jarkiholi is contesting on Congress ticket in Yamanakaradi.
BJP MPs Ramesh Jigajinagi and Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal are trying to re-enter assembly from Chikkodi-Sadalga and from Devarahippargi in Bijapur district, respectively.
Congress MP Narsingrao Suryawanshi is testing his poll fortune from Aurad reserved seat in Bidar.
Former ministers Gurupadappa Nagamarpally, Baburao Chinchansoor and Baburao Chavan are among the 699 candidates whose poll fate will be decided.
The first phase of polling was held in 89 segments on May 10 and the second phase covering 66 constituencies on May 16. The counting of votes will be taken up on May 25.