Karnataka recorded 51 per cent voting in 17 of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies on Thursday with Bangalore registering around 50 per cent turnout, a top election official said at the end of the 10-hour polling.
Only 50 per cent of the 2.03 million eligible voters exercised their franchise in the prestigious Bangalore South constituency, Karnataka chief electoral officer MN Vidyashankar told reporters.
Bangalore South has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary and former central minister HN Ananth Kumar seeking re-election for the fifth time, facing Congress young turk Krishna Byre Gowda and no-frills aviation pioneer Capt GR Gopinath.
Bangalore North, from where former railways minister CK Jaffer Sharief (Congress) is contesting, and Bangalore Central, with former 'supercop' HT Sangliana in the fray on the Congress ticket after crossing over from BJP, recorded 45 per cent voting.
Chikkodi in north Karnataka stood on top of the list with 63.5 per cent voting while Raichur, also in north Karnataka, was at the bottom with 42 per cent polling.
Vidyashankar said the voting per centage could go up slightly as figures were still coming in. "These figures are as at 5 pm, when the voting ended," he added. The final tally will be known only Friday.
Bangalore Rural, where former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is locked in a triangular contest, was better than its urban counterparts, recording 60 per cent voting.
Chikkaballpur, with former chief minister and Congress media cell head M Veerappa Moily in the field, saw 60 per cent voting while his party colleague and former general secretary Margaret Alva's constituency Uttara Kannada recorded 53 per cent.
The other constituencies (with voting per centage in brackets) where voting took place in the first of the two-phase election are: Belgaum (49), Bijapur (43), Gulbarga (45), Bidar (48), Koppal (48), Bellary (58.35), Chitradurga (49), Tumkur (46) and Kolar (55).
Vidyashankar said 13.2 million people out of around 20.6 million eligible voters had cast their ballots.
"The polling was peaceful," he said.
The voting per centage this time is 10 per cent points less than that recorded in 2004 when 14 of the 28 seats had voted in the first phase, Vidyashankar said.
Polling, which began on a dull note in Bangalore, did not pick up even though the weather was pleasant following showers.
Voting took place in around 29,000 polling booths in the 17 constituencies.
Of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, the remaining 11 will go to polls in the third phase April 30.