Karnataka sees 51 percent voting in first phase (Lead)

April 23rd, 2009 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, April 23 (IANS) Karnataka recorded 51 percent voting in 17 of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies Thursday with Bangalore registering around 50 percent turnout, a top election official said at the end of the 10-hour polling.
Only 50 percent of the 2.03 million eligible voters exercised their franchise in the prestigious Bangalore South constituency, Karnataka chief electoral officer M.N. Vidyashankar told reporters.

Bangalore South has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary and former central minister H.N. Ananth Kumar seeking re-election for the fifth time, facing Congress young turk Krishna Byre Gowda and no-frills aviation pioneer Capt. G.R. Gopinath.

Bangalore North, from where former railways minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief (Congress) is contesting, and Bangalore Central, with former ’supercop’ H.T. Sangliana in the fray on the Congress ticket after crossing over from BJP, recorded 45 percent voting.

Chikkodi in north Karnataka stood on top of the list with 63.5 per cent voting while Raichur, also in north Karnataka, was at the bottom with 42 percent polling.

Vidyashankar said the voting percentage could go up slightly as figures were still coming in. “These figures are as at 5 p.m., when the voting ended,” he added. The final tally will be known only Friday.

Bangalore Rural, where former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is locked in a triangular contest, was better than its urban counterparts, recording 60 percent voting.

Chikkaballpur, with former chief minister and Congress media cell head M. Veerappa Moily in the field, saw 60 percent voting while his party colleague and former general secretary Margaret Alva’s constituency Uttara Kannada recorded 53 percent.

The other constituencies (with voting percentage in brackets) where voting took place in the first of the two-phase election are: Belgaum (49), Bijapur (43), Gulbarga (45), Bidar (48), Koppal (48), Bellary (58.35), Chitradurga (49), Tumkur (46) and Kolar (55).

Vidyashankar said 13.2 million people out of around 20.6 million eligible voters had cast their ballots.

“The polling was peaceful,” he said.

The voting percentage this time is 10 percent points less than that recorded in 2004 when 14 of the 28 seats had voted in the first phase, Vidyashankar said.

Polling, which began on a dull note in Bangalore, did not pick up even though the weather was pleasant following showers.

Voting took place in around 29,000 polling booths in the 17 constituencies.

Of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, the remaining 11 will go to polls in the third phase April 30.

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