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Brisk, enthusiastic polling marks Karnataka election

Bangalore, May 5, 2013 (PTI) 14:53 IST
An Indian polling official makes last minute check on the electronic voting machine before heading to their respective polling station on the eve of state elections in Bangalore, India, Saturday, May 4, 2013. The southern Indian state of Karnataka will go to the polls on May 5. There are 41.8 million voters in the state and as many as 51,648 polling stations have been set up ahead of the polls, Indian election commission said. AP Photo
Polling for the Karnataka Assembly elections began on a strong note today with a voter turnout of an estimated 15 to 20 per cent in the first three hours.

106-year-old seer of the Tumkur-based famed Siddaganga Mutt, Shivakumar Swamy, was among the early voters.

Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Ministers M Mallikarjuna Kharge and M Veerappa Moily, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara, BJP State unit President Prahlad Joshi, and Karnataka Janatha Paksha supremo B S Yeddyurappa were among those who voted in the initial hours.

Barring a tiff between a voter and an on-duty policeman in a Bellary booth with the former sustaining minor injuries leading to protests by a section of electorate there, polling was so far peaceful, sources said.

At a couple of places, including in Mahadevapura segment in the city, polling was delayed by a few minutes following malfunctioning of electronic voting machines.
Sources in the Election Commission estimated the poll percentage by 10 AM to be in the region of 15-20 per cent. Polling has been extended by an hour and will take place till 6 PM.

Authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful and smooth conduct of polls, which commenced at 7 am.

Enthusiasm of voters was particularly evident in the city, with techies working in the Information Technology sector going out in large numbers to elect their representatives.
Polling is being held in 223 segments, with the one in Periyapatna in Mysore district having been postponed to May 28 following the death of BJP candidate.
More than 4.35 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise in the single phase poll.
Over 2.5 lakh people are on poll duty. Police personnel deployed on the ground are more than 1.35 lakh, with authorities keep a special vigil in hypersensitive booths with the help of cameras. There are a total of 2940 candidates in the fray.

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