Voting begins in Bengaluru civic polls, counting on Aug 25
About 12,000 candidates are in the fray representing mainstream political parties - Congress, BJP and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), regional outfits such as AIADMK and Vatal Chaluvali Paksha and independents. Election is being held for 197 of the 198 wards.india Updated: Aug 22, 2015 10:35 IST
The election is being held after a prolonged court battle, as Siddaramaiah led government sought to defer it on grounds of trifurcating the civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Opposition BJP and JDS had brought the government in the line of fire, calling its move on trifurcation as an attempt to put off the polls, as the ruling party was unsure of its victory.
Amidst resistance from opposition parties, the government has passed the bill trifurcating BBMP in the legislature; it is now before the governor for his assent.
While elections to the 198 wards of BBMP will take place on Saturday, counting of votes will be taken up on August 25.
"Polling will be held in 6,463 booths spread over 197 wards from 7 am to 5pm and re-polling, if any, on August 24, while counting of votes will be on August 25," said state chief election commissioner PN Srinivasachari.
With 1,500 voters earmarked for each polling station, 9,310 electronic voting machines (EVMs) and 11,635 ballot units will be used for the exercise. The electorate comprises 73,88,526 voters.
Meanwhile, security has been increased in the city and around 20,000 policemen have been deployed.
"We have deployed about 20,000 policemen to ensure peaceful polling in all the 197 civic wards, with additional force in about 700 hyper sensitive and 1,990 sensitive booths," police commissioner NS Megharik told reporters.
Besides 7,000 home guards and 4,000 constables from outside the city, 103 platoons of the state reserve police have been pressed into service.
"About 3,000 anti-social elements have been rounded up and 5,000 licensed arms have been surrendered from across the city," Megharik said.
In the previous five-year term (2010-2015), the BJP ruled the BBMP for the first time by winning in 116 wards, as against 62 wards by Congress, 14 by JD-S and eight by independents.
While Union ministers like Venkhaiah Naidu, Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar, and a gamut of leaders from the state unit, including former chief minister Yeddyurappa campaigned for BJP, Congress had Siddaramaiah himself with his cabinet campaigning for party candidates.
Congress had also roped in state in-charge Digvijay Singh and party's leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjurna Kharge. As Congress is seeking votes in the name of its pro people work and alleged corruption by BJP in BBMP during its rule, BJP is still trying to ride on the Modi wave in the city.
JD(S), MIM, SP, BSP, CPI, CPI (M) are also in the fray, along with good number of independent candidates.
Siddramaiah has said that the results of the BBMP polls will not be a referendum on his government's performance.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)