30 percent voting in Karnataka district polls

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BANGALORE - Around 30 percent of the over 10 million electorate in 12 Karnataka districts had voted by 1 p.m. Sunday in the first round of bitterly-fought elections to the local governing councils, an official said.

Voting for 375 zilla (district) and 1,340 taluka (sub-district) panchayat seats started on a dull note due to the chilly weather but picked up later, a state election commission spokesperson said in Bangalore. The voting, which began at 7 a.m., will end at 5 p.m.

For the first time, electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being used in the district polls.

Balloting was held in Bangalore urban, Bangalore rural, Ramanagaram, Chitradurga, Kolar, Chikballapur, Shimoga, Tumkur, Bidar, Bellary, Raichur and Yadgir districts.

But for minor glitches in some EVMs, complaints of names missing from the voters list and attempts at bogus voting at some places, balloting was peaceful, the spokesperson told IANS.

In the second phase, 17 districts will vote Dec 31 and the following day Gulbarga district will vote.

Counting is slated for Jan 4.

It is a triangular contest between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) at most of the places.

The elections are being held against the backdrop of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa getting the BJP leadership’s backing to stay on in office despite allegations that he 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 BJP’s prospects in the three-phase polls, mostly in rural and semi-urban areas.

He 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.

The Congress and the JD-S have focused on corruption and nepotism in the BJP’s first government in the state, while Yeddyurappa and his colleagues have been highlighting the government’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 down for the first BJP government in south India but it may well ring the bells 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.

Filed under: Politics

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