12 Karnataka districts vote Sunday in panchayat pollsBy IANS
Saturday, December 25, 2010
BANGALORE - Voting will take place Sunday for local governing councils in 12 Karnataka districts in the first of the three-phase elections, winning which is critical for Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to continue in office.
Around 10 million people in the 12 districts are eligible to vote in Sundays polls to 375 zilla (district) and 1,340 taluka (sub-district) panchayat elections.
Balloting will take place in Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagaram, Chitradurga, Kolar, Chikballapur, Shimoga, Tumkur, Bidar, Bellary, Raichur and Yadgir districts.
In the second phase, 17 districts will vote Dec 31 and the following day Gulbarga district will have balloting.
Counting is slated for Jan 4.
The elections are being held against the backdrop of Yeddyurappa getting his Bharatiya Janata Party’s leadership backing him to stay on in office despite allegations that he has favoured his kin with prime land in and around Bangalore.
Yeddyurappa has maintained that the charges were baseless and would not have any impact on the BJPs prospects in the three-phase polls, mostly in rural and semi-urban areas.
The chief minister has won the reprieve from the leadership promising he would lead the party to victory in these polls, like he did in the 2008 assembly and 2009 Lok Sabha polls in the state.
It is a three-way battle between the BJP, the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular in most of the seats Sunday as well as in those polling Dec 31 and Jan 1.
The Congress and the JD-S have focused on corruption and nepotism in the BJPs first government in the state, while Yeddyurappa and his colleagues have been highlighting the governemnt’s welfare measures to woo the voters.
Perhaps this is the first district-level elections in which the BJP has such high stakes.
A poor show might not result in the curtains for the first BJP government in south India but it may well ring the bell for the downfall of Yeddyurappa in view of the land scandals he is allegedly involved in.
Rebutting charges against Yeddyurappa and the BJP, party president Nitin Gadkari has asserted that the outcome of the polls would be a fitting reply to the Congress and the JD-S campaign.