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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

Voting percentage in Karnataka assembly elections may reach 70%: Election Commission

According to Election Commission data, Bengaluru has the lowest voting percentage so far after polling started in the Karnataka assembly elections on Saturday morning.

india Updated: May 12, 2018 22:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
A policeman stands guard as people wait in a queue to cast their votes outside a polling station during Karnataka assembly elections at a village on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
A policeman stands guard as people wait in a queue to cast their votes outside a polling station during Karnataka assembly elections at a village on the outskirts of Bengaluru. (Reuters Photo)

The voting percentage in the Karnataka assembly elections is at 67%, provisional data released by the Election Commission showed on Saturday evening.

In the 2013 assembly elections, the voting percentage was 71.45%. Over the last three elections, the voting percentage has averaged 67.1%.

The Election Commission, in a release, put the voting percentage at 67% as of 6pm when the voting lines closed. But an official said this could rise higher.

“I want to congratulate the voters of Karnataka. Till 6 pm, the voter turnout in the state was 70 per cent. Barring a few polling stations, voting has been completed at almost all,” senior deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here.

“By the time we get the final figure, we will have a better turnout than the last election,” he added. The poll percentage is likely to go up as voters were seen standing in the queue at certain polling stations even after 6 pm.

The polling which began at 7 am at 58,546 polling stations in 222 seats, concluded at 6pm. The Karnataka Legislative assembly has 224 seats but elections in two constituencies, Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar, both in Bengaluru, have been postponed.

Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray -- more than 2400 men and over 200 women. Of the 5,06,90,538 eligible voters, 2,56,75,579 are men, 2,50,09,904 women and 5,055 transgenders. Officials said 58,008 polling stations were set up across the state, of which 12,002 were designated as “critical”.

“The total value of the seizure was Rs 186 crore, of which cash amounted to Rs 94.66 crore, besides liquor Rs 24.78 crore,” Sinha said.

“Other items, including sarees and other consumable products, worth Rs 66 crore, were also confiscated. The seizures are worth eight times more than what it was during the last Karnataka Assembly election. In the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh polls, the seizures were worth Rs 150 crore,” he added.

Sinha said the highest polling of 76 per cent was recorded in Chikkaballapura and Ramanagara while Bengaluru Urban had the lowest turnout at 48 per cent.

Voters lined up to choose their representatives after a high-stakes campaign that saw the Congress and the BJP deploy their top national leaders, party president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, respectively, in the state.

A faulty VVPAT machine was replaced in Hubli, which had stalled the voting.

In Jayanagar, polling has been deferred due to the death of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, B N Vijay Kumar, on May 4. In Rajarajeshwari Nagar, voting has been countermanded after fake voter identity cards were found from a flat in Bengaluru’s Jalahalli locality on May 8.

The election in Karnataka is considered crucial for both the BJP and the Congress as many consider it to be a precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, is looking to prevent the BJP from expanding its footprint in the south.

The BJP is bidding to oust the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka and is looking to come back to power in assembly elections with B.S. Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate. Interestingly, no incumbent government has been re-elected in Karnataka since 1985.

The HD Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular), which many commentator see as gaining from an inconclusive verdict in the Karnataka assembly elections, is looking to establish itself once again in Karnataka politics and is expected to give a tough fight to both the BJP and the Congress. Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy is seen as a possible chief ministerial candidate if

(With inputs from agencies)