Around 15 percent polling in four hours in Karnataka

April 23rd, 2009 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, April 23 (IANS) Around 15 percent of about 20.6 million eligible voters had cast their ballot by 11 a.m. in 17 of the 28 constituencies in Karnataka in the first round of its two-phase polling Thursday.
“About 15 percent voting has taken place across the state. The process has been peaceful. There have been complaints of names missing from a few places,” said a state election official.

Voting is taking place in around 29,000 polling booths in the 17 constituencies. The process which began at 7 a.m. will end at 5 p.m.

Among the early voters were Congress candidate in the prestigious Bangalore South constituency Krishna Byre Gowda, who takes on BJP general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar seeking election for the fifth consecutive time.

About 20.6 million voters, including 10.3 million women, are eligible to vote to decide the fortunes of 271 candidates in the fray.

About 100,000 poll officials and 60,000 security personnel are on duty in 28,997 booths in the Bangalore South, Bangalore Central, Bangalore North, Bangalore Rural, Chikkodi, Raichur (Scheduled Tribe), Belgaum, Bijapur (Scheduled Caste), Gulbarga (SC), Bidar, Koppal, Bellary (ST), Uttara Kannada, Chitradurga (SC), Tumkur, Chikkaballapur and Kolar (SC) constituencies.

Ten percent of the polling booths are being treated as hyper-sensitive as there is a possibility of violence or disorder.

In this Karnataka capital and neighbouring areas, around 16,000 security personnel are to keep vigil at 5,905 polling booths in the Bangalore South, Central, North and parts of Bangalore Rural and Chikkaballapur constituencies.

More than 1,000 polling booths in these areas are considered hyper-sensitive, according Bangalore city police commissioner Shankar Bidari.

Thursday’s voting will decide the fate of three former chief ministers: N. Dharam Singh from Bidar and M. Veerappa Moily (both Congress) from Chikballapur and H.D. Kumaraswamy (JD-S) from Bangalore Rural.

Others in the fray include nine-time legislator and Congress Working Committee member Mallikarjun Kharge and BJP state minister Revu Naik Belagami in Gulbarga, the BJP’s D.B. Chandre Gowda and Congress veteran and former railways minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief in Bangalore North.

Former super cop H.T. Sangliana, who walked over to the Congress from the BJP, is trying his luck for the second time. He is facing B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, a two-time JD-S legislator, in the newly constituted Bangalore Central constituency.

In Uttara Kannada, veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva faces Anant Kumar Hegde of the BJP, a three-time winner of the seat.

In Bellary, septugenarian Congress candidate N.Y. Hanumanthappa is pitted against J. Shanta of the BJP, a political novice and younger sister of state Health Minister B. Sriramalu.

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