Voting begins in 89 constituencies in Karnataka

May 10th, 2008 - 10:01 am ICT by admin  

Bangalore, May 10 (IANS) Voting began Saturday in 89 constituencies in 11 southern districts of Karnataka in the first of the three-phase elections to the 224-member state assembly whose outcome has assumed national importance as it could be a pointer to the timing of parliamentary polls. Around 17.3 million voters, including 8.4 million women, are eligible to pick their representatives from over 950 candidates. There are 17 women contestants.

Voting is being held in 18,562 polling stations for 28 seats in Bangalore Urban district, four in Bangalore Rural district, 11 each in Mysore and Tumkur, seven each in Mandya and Hassan, six in Kolar, five in Chikkaballapur, four each in Ramanagaram and Chamarajanagar, and two in Kodagu.

Around 100,000 polling officials and 58,000 security personnel are on duty to ensure smooth voting.

Of the 18,562 booths, police have classified 6,252, including 2,000 in Bangalore Urban district, as hypersensitive.

Prominent politicians in the fray are former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy from Ramanagaram, his elder brother and former minister H.D. Revanna from Holenarsipur in Hassan district, former deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah from Varuna in Mysore district, as well as Kannada film actor and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting M.H. Ambareesh from Srirangapatna in Mandya district.

Both Kumaraswamy and Revanna, sons of former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular leader H.D. Deve Gowda, are facing women candidates. Mamatha Nichani, eldest daughter of former Karnataka chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde, is taking on Kumaraswamy while S.G. Anupama, daughter-in-law of late Congress Lok Sabha member G. Puttaswamy Gowda, is fighting Revanna.

Siddaramaiah’s main opponent is Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) L. Revanasiddaiah, a retired director general of police.

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