61 percent voting in Karnataka final phase poll(Roundup)

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:38 am ICT by admin  

Bangalore, May 22 (IANS) Around 61 percent of an estimated 11.7 million people voted Thursday in the third and final phase of the Karnataka assembly election held in 69 constituencies across eight districts of northern parts of the state. “The polling was peaceful barring stray incidents in a few places. The voting percentage is around 61.3 at the end of polling process at 5 p.m. The percentage is tentative and likely to go up after we get the final figures by midnight,” state chief electoral officer M.N. Vidyashankar told reporters here.

In the 2004 election, the voting percentage was 64 in the region.

Of the eight districts in north Karnataka comprising the erstwhile Bombay province and Hyderabad-Karnataka region, Bagalkot registered 65 percent, Belgaum 62 percent, Bidar and Bijapur 57 percent, Dharwad 65 percent, Gadag 63 percent, Gulbarga 60 percent and Haveri 63 percent.

Interestingly, all 830 voters of Mundergi village in Gadag district in Ron constituency boycotted polling in protest against the non-constituting of gram panchayat or village council.

“Voting was affected by sudden rains in Bidar and Gulbarga districts in the final three hours of polling exercise as the electorate kept away from booths. In other districts, polling began on a brisk note and moderated in the afternoon due to summer heat,” Vidyashankar noted.

The state poll panel has registered 2,450 cases for violating the model code of conduct in the three phases of polling.

The first two phases were held May 10 for 89 constituencies in 11 districts of old Mysore region and May 16 for 66 segments in 10 districts of coastal and central Karnataka.

“For the first time in the state, we have seized objectionable goods such as liquor valued at Rs.420 million and Rs.187 million in cash during electioneering and on polling days in the three phases,” Vidyashankar added.

Votes polled in all the three phases for the 224-member assembly will be counted May 25.

Winning a majority of seats in this round is critical for the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to secure the mandate for ruling the state, which witnessed three coalition governments in less than four years after a fractured verdict in the 2004 poll.

Among prominent candidates in the fray were state Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief minister N. Dharam Singh of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) state president Merajuddin Patel.

Kharge and Singh will set a record if they win as both are contesting for the ninth time in a row.

Kharge, who won from Gurmitkal for eight times since 1972 is contesting this time from the newly reserved Chittapur constituency in Gulbarga district.

Singh, however, is seeking re-election from Jewargi segment in the same district after representing it in the assembly for eight consecutive times.

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