62 pc voting in 5 constituencies

ageless spirit: 88-year-old Ramanna on his way to a polling booth at Govindrajnagar constituency in Bangalore on Tuesday. DH Photo

The political fortune of Housing and Muzrai Minister V Somanna is at stake in Govindrajnagar, where he has locked horns with greenhorn Priya Krishna of the Congress.  The constituency recorded the lowest voter turnout among the five constituencies with a majority of the 2.78 lakh voters not exercising their franchise.
Polling was by and large peaceful. In Channapatna, voters seemed to not have lost their enthusiasm to return to the polling booth for the second time in less than four months. The constituency, where three-time legislator C  P Yogeeshwara is seeking re-election, this time on a BJP ticket, recorded the highest turnout among the five constituencies with 73 per cent polling. Nearby Ramnagaram recorded 71 per cent turnout, while the home turf of Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Chittapur, where his son Priyank Kharge is testing political waters for the first time recorded 59 pc polling.

Kollegal Assembly segment in Chamarajnagar district witnessed 64 percent electorate exercising their franchise.

Overall, the total voting percentage in the five constituencies has increased compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections (58.3 pc) but slightly declined compared to the 2008 Assembly elections (62.13 percent).

Addressing a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday, State Chief Electoral Officer C S Suranjana said Election Commission officials had to replace six faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) including two each in Channapatna and one each in Kollegal and Chittapur.

There were reports about poll boycott by voters of two villages - Chikkadevanahalli and Siddayanadoddi - both in Ramnagaram. As many as 295 voters in Chikkadevanahalli and 220 in Siddayanadoddi boycotted the polls in protest against the lack of developmental works in their villagers. The voters of the two villages had also sought separate polling stations, Suranjana said.

Siddayanadoddi was part of  Kanakapura Assembly constituency before delimitation. After delimitation in 2008, it became part of Ramanagara assembly constituency.
Villagers complained that none of the MLAs in the past worked for the development of the village. They said that they will continue to boycott elections in coming days if their village is not developed.

Meanwhile, in Gangondanahalli of Govindrajnagar, Congress workers alleged that names of those belonging to minority community had been deleted from the voters’ list with ulterior motive.

In Channapatna, polling picked up only after 2 pm. The heavy overnight downpour resulted in poor turnout in the morning. There were complaints about missing names from the voters list from both rural and urban pockets of the constituency.

Suranjana said the EC was in the process of receiving form 17A (which records the proceedings in the station) from the presiding officers of all the polling stations and only after scrutiny of the same, repolling, if any, would be decided, Suranjana said.
Counting for the bypolls which will decide the fate of minister Somanna besides 71 candidates, will be taken up from 8 am on August 21. While initial trends will be available from 9 am, the final results are expected to be announced by 11:30 am.

* Channapatna:          73
* Ramnagaram:           71
* Kollegal:                    64
* Chittapur:                  59
* Govindrajnagar:        48
* Total:                         61.6

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