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|September 5, 1999||
About 60% voting in Bellary
An estimated 60 per cent polling was recorded in the Bellary Lok Sabha constituency, where the electoral fortunes of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj were decided today.
Returning officer Raj Kamal said polling was peaceful barring some stray incidents. Tight security arrangements had been made as both the BJP and Congress had expressed fears of possible rigging.
In the 1998 election, Bellary had recorded a poll percentage of 62.61 per cent.
Besides the two prominent leaders, K Mahalingappa of the Janata Dal (Secular) was also in the fray.
The polling, which began on a dull note, picked up during the day and was heavy in some parts of this mining town. Women turned up in larger numbers in several booths in the rural areas.
The police maintained a tight vigil in all the eight assembly segments in Bellary. Additional paramilitary forces were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
A UNI correspondent, who visited various polling booths in rural areas, saw tremendous enthusiasm among womenfolk who had come out in large numbers.
Bellary town wore a deserted look with shops closed in several places. Some booths recorded more than 50 per cent polling by noon. A 73-year-old woman was seen weeping outside a polling booth in Thoronagal in the Sandur assembly segment, saying none of the political parties had given her money this time.
The Election Commission has posted five observers to ensure a free and fair poll.
Sonia is away in Delhi, where she cast her vote at the Nirman Bhavan polling station.
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