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Home > India > News > Report

K'taka first phase: Polling gathers steam

Vicky Nanjappa | May 10, 2008 09:57 IST
Last Updated: May 10, 2008 14:09 IST

About 30 per cent of an estimated 1.73 crore electorate on Saturday cast their votes by 1 pm in 89 assembly segments in Karnataka where the first phase of polling is underway under tight security cover.

Coverage: Battleground Karnataka

Minor incidents of violence were reported in Bangalore. In Varuna constituency where Congress heavyweight and former deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah is locked in a multi-corner contest, voting was suspended for sometime in Hulimavu polling booth after BJP supporters complained that one of the election staff was canvassing for Congress.

The official who faced the charge was immediately removed and voting continued after replacing EVM, official sources said.

BJP activists had been demanding re-poll in this polling station, but the authorities told them that the earlier EVM which was in operation has been taken off and kept in safe custody.

At the Chickpet constituency, police resorted to cane charge when members of some parties reacted violently while protesting against missing names in the voters list. The situation has been brought under control.

Even as voting progressed, several complaints regarding missing names poured in.

Voters at KR Puram, R T Nagar and Vijaynagar areas complained that their names were missing.

At R T Nagar, 20 persons were held after a complaint was lodged against them for allegedly being bogus voters. The police say it could be a complaint planted by the opposite party.

The build to the poll booths has been slow yet steady.
The state government has declared a holiday on Saturday to ensure that voters turn up in large numbers.

Over 1 lakh security personnel are manning the 2 lakh polling booths spread across 89 constituencies.

Karnataka: What Phase 1 has in store

This is the first election to be held in the state after the delimitation process. Bangalore will be a crucial constituency during the election, as it accounts for 28 out of the 89 constituencies in the first phase of the elections.

Another first in this election is the new kind of marking on the finger of the voter. The Election Commission has done away with the earlier procedure in which an ink blotch is applied on the index finger. A new pattern has been introduced where a long line will be drawn that would run from the top of the nail to the bottom through the skin on the index finger.

The first phase of the polls comprising 89 constituencies will be spread across 12 districts which are Tumkur, Chikkaballabur, Kolar, Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, BBMP, Hassan, Kodagu, Mysore, Mandya, Ramnagar and Chamrajnagar.

The first phase comprises 42 per cent of the total electorate of the state of Karnataka.

Former Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy and his brother H D Revanna are seeking re-election from Ramnagar and Holenarasipur constituencies respectively. Both are pitched against women candidates from the Congress.

With Bangalore comprising 28 out of the 89 constituencies, the voice of the urban voter has increased considerably after the delimitation process. In the previous election Bangalore had just 16 constituencies.

The Janata Dal-Secular, which has banked more on the rural electorate, will desperately try to repeat its performance in 2004 when it won 38 out of the 89 seats in this belt, which has a majority population of Vokkaligas. JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda belongs to this community.

The Congress too has roped in Vokkaliga leader, S M Krishna to split the JD-S vote bank. The Congress had won 29 seats in this belt in 2004. The BJP, meanwhile, is banking on its urban image and will try to make inroads in Bangalore.

Poll pundits say the districts which go to poll in the first phase of the elections are primarily not the BJP stronghold due to the large Vokkaliga electorate. The BJP, which had emerged as the single largest party in 2004, had managed just 16 seats at that time.

The gains for the BJP were in the North of Karnataka, which is a dominant Lingayat belt.

Additional inputs: PTI