Aound 60 percent polling in Karnataka district polls

Friday, December 31, 2010

BANGALORE - The second and penultimate phase of elections to Karnataka’s local governing body councils Friday ended peacefully with about 60 percent of over 15 million voters in 17 districts casting their ballots.

“About 60 percent voting has been recorded,” a state Election Commission official told IANS at the end of the day’s polling to elect 595 district and 2,161 sub-district panchayat members.

According to the official, except for some complaints over missing names in the voters’ list and glitches in electronic voting machines in some places, the voting was uneventful and peaceful.

The districts that went to poll Friday were Chickmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Hasan, Kodagu, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagara, Belgaum, Bijapur, Bagalkote, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Uttara Kannada, Davanagere and Koppal.

Like in the first phase voting in 12 districts Dec 26, the second phase too saw a three-way battle among the ruling BJP, the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular for most of the seats.

In the third phase, Gulbarga district will vote Jan 1.

Results will be known Jan 4 and will have a bearing on the stability of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s first government in south India as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa himself is accused of involvement in illegal land deals.

The campaign has centred mainly on Yeddyurappa favouring his kin with allocation of prime land in and around Bangalore since he assumed office in May 2008.

Yeddyurappa managed to fend off pressure to quit by convincing the BJP central leadership that charges against him would not hold among voters in rural and semi-urban areas and the party would bag majority of the seats.

The last district council elections were held in 2005 when the BJP was not in power in the state. It came third in the overall seats tally with the Congress emerging as a clear winner.

Yeddyurappa and state BJP leaders have been talking of capturing power in at least 22 of the 30 district panchayats and over 100 out of the 176 sub-district panchayats.

The BJP’s poor show in these polls would result in heightened pressure on the party not only from the Congress and the JD-S but a section of the party itself to replace the chief minister.

Yedyurappa has survived two rebellions against him — first by two of his ministers who are also mining magnates and the second by 11 legislators of his party and five Independents. The Independents were ministers at that time.

All 16 were subsequently disqualified which they have challenged in the high court.

Filed under: Politics

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