Unseasonal downpour in Belgaum and Bidar and scorching heat in other northern districts of Karnataka influenced voting in the last phase of elections to the legislative assembly with a moderate show of 61.3 per cent in 69 seats on Thursday.
Poll process of Thursday sealed the fate of key contestants such as Pradesh Congress Committee Mallikarjun Kharge and former chief minister Dharam Singh and Merajuddin Patel, head of the state unit of Janata Dal (S). In all, 699 candidates, including 43 women, were in the fray for 69 seats spread over eight districts.
The turn out was lowest when compared to 66 per cent in Phase I (89 seats spread over 11 districts on May 10th) and 67.8 per cent (66 seats across ten districts on May 16th).
Of the eight districts, Dharwad and Bagalkot topped the list with a poll percentage of 65, followed by Gadag and Haveri at 63 per cent, while Belgaum registered 62 per cent, Gulbarga sixty per cent, and Bidar and Bijapur 57 per cent respectively, according to Chief Electoral Officer MN Vidyashankar. “This phase did not witness any violence nor was any case of impersonation recorded,” he told newsmen.
At the end of polling process, the Election Commission reported a total of 2,450 cases of violation of model code of conduct with confiscation of cash, liquor, ornaments and other gifts worth Rs 44. 29 crores. Of this, the cash component was Rs 19.62 crores. "This is a record for any state that went to polls," Mr Vidyashankar said.
The last phase also witnessed at least three cases of boycott of polls - at Ron constituency in Gadag district where 832 voters of Attikatti stayed away from polls, followed by Haveri and Chincholi (R) (Gulbarga district), voters stayed away from polling stations as a mark of protest over lack of developmental schemes for their region.
In the first case, 1451 voters remained at home (Haveri seat), while 534 voters boycotted polls in Chincholi (R).