61 percent polling in Karnataka, 50 percent in Bangalore

Bangalore: Around 61 percent voting was reported across Karnataka where polling was held in all the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies, while it was about 50.6 percent in the three seats in Bangalore.

“Polling ended peacefully at 6 p.m. in all the 28 parliamentary constituencies across the state. As per the provisional figures available with us, an average of 60.75 percent voting took place till 6 p.m.,” chief electoral officer A.K. Jha told IANS here.

The overall percentage is likely to go up, as many voters were in queues in several polling booths by 6 p.m.

Record 75 percent polling was reported in Dakshina Kannada in the coastal area where former union minister Janardhana Poojary of Congress faces outgoing BJP lawmaker Nalin Kumar Kateel, followed by 70 percent each in Chikkodi in northern region and Udupi-Chikkamagalur in south coastal area.

In contrast to higher polling in other regions, voting was lower in the state capital, with high-profile Bangalore South and Bangalore Central reporting 52 percent each and Bangalore North 50 percent, while Bangalore Rural had 63 percent.

“Voting in Bangalore seats, however, increased from 47 percent in the 2009 general elections,” Jha noted.

The lowest turnout – 47 percent – was reported in Gulbarga (reserved) seat in northern Karnataka from where Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge of Congress is seeking a second term.

In the Hassan seat, from where former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda is seeking sixth term, 69 percent polling was reported till 6 p.m.

Voting began on a brisk note in many constituencies across the Mysore region and south and coastal areas, while it started on a dull note in northern and central areas but picked up later.

“Polling was held amid tight security. Barring a few complaints of electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning or not working and names of some voters missing from the electoral list, voting was orderly in all the seats,” Jha said.

The state has 46 million registered voters, constituting 70 percent of the 64 million population.

Bangalore has 6.3 million voters out of 9 million people.

Among prominent candidates in fray are Infosys co-founder and technocrat Nandan Nilekani from Bangalore South constituency, home to about 800 IT firms like Infosys, Wipro and multinationals from the US and Europe.

Nilekani’s former colleague and former Infosys director V. Balakrishnan is also contesting from Bangalore Central seat as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate.

“It is a very important election, as it will decide the country’s future, the idea of India and its philosophy,” Nielkani told IANS after emerging out of polling both.

Noting that he was overwhelmed by the voters’ response in Bangalore, especially by first-timers and youth, he said people of Bangalore South want change as the outgoing lawmaker (N.H. Ananth Kumar of BJP) has been a non-performer though he had won from the seat for five times since 1996.

Balakrihnan said people of India were looking for a change as they were fed up with the present leaders.

“Politics is all about managing issues deftly. Am sure my corporate background will help me in dealing with complex issues and resolving them,” he said.

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